Robert Weghsteen, Untitled, 1971
Photo: Michael R. Barrick

Robert Weghsteen

, 1971

323 x470 cm
Commissioned with support from the Vancouver Alumni Chapter Alpha Omega Fraternity, 1971

This work was presented to UBC in 1971 by the Vancouver Chapter of the Alpha Omega Fraternity. It is located on the exterior wall of the south entrance to the MacDonald Building, which is home to the Faculty of Dentistry. Robert Weghsteen prioritized creating a work that would integrate with the building’s architecture.

The surface of Weghsteen’s two-panel ceramic wall mural is a luminous silver-grey with hints of brown. From a distance the colour appears uniform, but a closer look reveals subtle variations in tone and texture. Each panel is composed of fitted tiles that are connected by a rhythm of abstract, organic forms, both raised and impressed into the ceramic.

Weghsteen was born in Belgium in 1929 and studied ceramics in the late 1940s at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London, England. In 1956 Weghsteen came to Canada on holiday where the landscape of Vancouver and its open spaces provided a sharp contrast to his home in Belgium. Soon after, Weghsteen immigrated with his young family and shipped all of the equipment from his studio, including his kilns, by way of the Panama Canal. Once in Vancouver, Weghsteen established himself as a ceramic artist and muralist and had numerous commissions around the province. Weghsteen was President of the BC Potters Guild and taught at the Vancouver School of Art.