WK’s maternal great-grandparents (the Huculaks and the Fedoraks) emigrate from the village of Borivtsi in Bukovyna, (today part of Ukraine), settling in east-central Alberta (then the Northwest Territories).
WK’s father, Dmytro Kurelek, is born in Borivtsi to Dmytro Sr. and Agaphia Kurelek.
WK’s mother and the eldest daughter of Vasyl and Maria Huculak, Mary Huculak, is born in Shandro, Alberta.
Dmytro Kurelek immigrates to Canada. Dmytro works on the farm of Vasyl Huculak, his sponsor.
Dmytro and Mary wed at St. Mary’s Russian Orthodox Church in Shandro.
WK’s parents begin homesteading on a quarter section grain farm northeast of Whitford, Alberta.
WK is born on March 3, and is baptized at St. Mary’s Russian Orthodox Church in Shandro.
The Kurelek family moves from Alberta to a dairy farm near Stonewall, Manitoba.
Having been raised speaking only Ukrainian, WK begins attending the English-only Victoria Public School in Stonewall.
WK completes grades 10, 11, and 12 at Isaac Newton High School in Winnipeg and attends Ukrainian language and history classes led by Father Peter Mayevsky at the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Mary the Protectress.
WK begins post-secondary studies at the University of Manitoba.
WK works at a lumber camp at Neys, northern Ontario.
WK meets philosophy and fine art student Zenon Pohorecky at the Alpha Omega Ukrainian students’ club at the University of Manitoba. WK is drawn to Pohorecky’s bohemian air and credits him as an early artistic influence.
WK works in Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay) Ontario, repairing a shipping elevator.
WK graduates from the University of Manitoba with a three-year Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Latin, English, and history.
WK’s parents and siblings relocate to a farm in Vinemount, Ontario. WK enters the Ontario College of Art (OCA) in Toronto. His instructors include John Martin, Carl Schaefer, Frederick Hagan, Harley Parker, and Eric Freifeld. Fellow students include Jack Dale, Graham Coughtry, Gus Rueter, and Rosemary Kilbourn.
Disenchanted with the OCA, WK leaves Toronto and moves to Edmonton where he rents various lodgings and stays briefly with an uncle.
WK begins painting his first major work, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, a self-portrait, in a basement in Edmonton.
In the fall, WK buses and hitchhikes down through the American mid-west and west coast to Mexico. He plans to study modern Mexican art in San Miguel de Allende.
Dissatisfied with his studies at the Institudo Allende, WK leaves Mexico for his parents’ farm in Vinemount. On the way home he hitchhikes and buses through the eastern United States to Montreal and then to Ottawa, where he sleeps one night in the bushes behind the Parliament Buildings.
Back in Vinemount in December, he paints Zaporozhian Cossacks as a gift to his father.
WK takes a cargo ship from Montreal to London, England, arriving in the spring.
WK commits himself to Maudsley, a psychiatric hospital.
WK spends the late summer and early fall on the Continent, visiting art galleries in Austria, Belgium, Holland, and Paris where he views works by Hieronymus Bosch, Jan van Eyck, and Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
Returning to London as an outpatient at Maudsley in the fall, WK gets a job rebuilding streetcar tracks. He paints Farm Children's Games in Western Canada, and Tramlines. He sold the latter, to the London Transport Board, his first major sale.
As an outpatient, WK completes some of his earliest nightmarish drawings under the Canadian doctor Bruno Cormier, a former colleague of the Automatists artists of Montreal, and signatory of the group’s 1948 manifesto, Refus Global.
WK meets Margaret Smith, an occupational therapist at Maudsley; he is drawn to her maternal care and, later, to her Roman Catholicism.
WK paints The Maze.
In the fall, WK transfers from Maudsley to Netherne Hospital, where an art therapy program is overseen by Edward Adamson.
WK awakens on the third night at Netherne with a feeling of profound existential loneliness. This experience becomes the basis of the 1970 painting All Things Betray Thee Who Betrayest Me.
WK attempts suicide; he begins electroconvulsive therapy treatment.
WK begins painting trompe-l’oeil still lifes. He also begins to call into question his previously held atheism by reading literature on Roman Catholicism.
WK is discharged from Netherne; goes to London, where he rents an apartment on Barons Court Road in Hammersmith.
WK makes a pilgrimage to the French town of Lourdes and the shrine of St. Bernadette.
WK returns to Canada; resides at parents’ farm in Vinemount.
Undertakes farm labour and works at a brick and tile factory in southern Ontario.
Plans to illustrate the entire Gospel of St. Matthew.
Returns to London, England.
WK hired as a framer at F.A. Pollak, where he is employed for 2 years; becomes a master finisher.
Meets and receives religious instruction from Father Thomas Lynch and theologian Father Edward Holloway; after two meetings WK is ready to join Roman Catholic Church.
WK enters Roman Catholic Church by a ceremony of conditional baptism.
Paints Self-Portrait and takes night classes in framing, cabinetworks, and book illustration at Hammersmith School of Art in Barons Court.
Gathering visual source material for his planned illustration of the Gospel of St. Matthew, WK tours Jordan and Israel for six weeks via France, Switzerland, Italy (including Rome and the Vatican), Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Syria.
Returns to England, and then to Canada, aboard the Cunard liner Ivernia; he stays temporarily at his parents’ farm in Vinemount.
WK applies to the Ontario College of Education at the University of Toronto for teacher training, but is expelled on the fourth day because he is deemed psychologically unfit.
WK moves to Toronto and lives on Huron Street, where he painted the Passion of Christ series, offering other of his paintings in lieu of rent.
WK becomes involved with Toronto’s Catholic Information Centre (CIC) for social activities and spiritual encouragement; becomes consumed with the conversion of others to Roman Catholicism and the salvation of souls.
WK meets the Toronto gallerist Av Isaacs through Kenneth Shorey, whom he had met on the Ivernia and who was then working with Isaacs’ wife, Norma Renault, in the theatre industry.
WK is given a framing job at The Isaacs Gallery, a job he would maintain until 1970.
WK has his first exhibition at The Isaacs Gallery, Exhibition of Paintings by William Kurelek. Works include his two self- portraits (1950 and 1957), The Airman’s Prayer, Behold Man Without God, Farm Children’s Games in Western Canada, Lord that I May See, The Tower of Babel.
WWK exhibits in a group exhibition at The Isaacs Gallery alongside Graham Coughtry, Gordon Rayner, William Ronald, Michael Snow, Tony Urquhart, and others.
The Women’s Committee of the Art Gallery of Ontario invites Alfred H. Barr, Director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, to Toronto to select a Canadian painting for the MoMA’s collection. Barr chooses WK’s painting Hailstorm in Alberta.
WK and Jean Andrews meet at the CIC and marry later that year.
WK has his second exhibition at Isaacs, Paintings of Farm and Bush Life.
WK goes on a spiritual retreat to Madonna House, a Roman Catholic apostolic training centre, in Combermere, Ontario; meets Madonna House founder Catherine de Hueck Doherty.
Birth of WK’s first child, Catharine.
WK travels through western Canada to sketch the places he and his family had lived and he had grown up.
An Immigrant Farms in Canada series is exhibited at The Isaacs Gallery and is dedicated to his parents’ experience, especially his father’s. Works include Despondency, In the Autumn of Life, Manitoba Party, Studying in Winnipeg.
Birth of WK’s second child, Stephen.
WK is commissioned by the Toronto branch of the Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada (UWAC) to produce a series dedicated to the pioneer experiences of Ukrainian-Canadian women. The series is scheduled for unveiling in 1967, the 40th anniversary of the UWAC, the 75th anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Canada, and Canada’s centennial.
WK has his first solo exhibition at a major public Canadian art gallery, the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
Increasingly convinced of the inevitability of a nuclear war, WK becomes determined to build a bomb shelter at his Toronto residence. His efforts are never fully realized.
The didactic series Glory to Man in the Highest: A Socio-Religious Satire is exhibited at The Isaacs Gallery; works include The Hope of the World, This is the Nemesis, We Find All Kinds of Excuses, Lest We Repent.
Birth of WK’s third child, Barbara.
WK completes The Ukrainian Pioneer Women in Canada series, dedicated to his mother, and displays paintings at the Ukrainian Pavilion at Expo ’67 in Montreal. Works include Mama, The Third House, Ukrainian Canadian Farm Picnic, and Material Success.
Birth of WK’s fourth child, Thomas.
WK travels for 6 weeks to South Africa, Kenya, Hong Kong, and India on a Senior Canada Council Fellowship.
Drawings from this period illustrate the Pacem in Terris series.
WK exhibits The Ukrainian Pioneer Women in Canada series at The Isaacs Gallery.
WK is invited to Cornell University to address a seminar class, led by Dr. James Maas, on mental illness.
The documentary The Maze: The Story of William Kurelek, directed by Robert Young, is completed; the film wins second place at the American Film Festival Awards in 1972.
WK exhibits his The Passion of Christ series at St. Vladimir Institute in Toronto; Olha and Mykola Kolankiwsky purchase the entire series for permanent display at the Niagara Falls Art Gallery.
WK makes his first of two trips to Soviet Ukraine; he spends four hours in Borivtsi, the birthplace of his father’s and mother’s families.
Upon his return to Canada, WK paints The Ukrainian Pioneer, commissioned by the Kolankiwskys and designed for the Niagara Falls Art Gallery.
Major WK retrospective at the Edmonton Art Gallery (now Art Gallery of Alberta).
WK travels through western Canada and paints most of what would comprise the series Prairie Boy’s Winter.
WK sketching trip to Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia.
Prairie Boy's Winter is published; named by the New York Times as one of the best illustrated and outstanding books of the year.
The Toronto series published as O Toronto.
WK paints Ontario and Quebec Bushcamp Memories and exhibits at the Marlborough Godard Gallery (Montreal); works include Lumberjack’s Breakfast.
The first version of WK’s autobiography Someone with Me is published by the Centre for Improvement of Undergraduate Education at Cornell University.
WK visits the Maritimes for a sketching trip.
Ontario and Quebec Bush Camp Memories series is published as Lumberjack and wins best illustrated book of the year from the New York Times.
The Happy Canadian series is exhibited at The Isaacs Gallery; works include The Painter.
The Happy Canadian series is published as Kurelek's Canada.
The Passion of Christ series is published in the book The Passion of Christ According to St. Matthew.
WK paints the Fields series; works include No Grass Grows on the Beaten Path.
WK paints a mural at St. Thomas More College at the University of Saskatchewan.
WK begins to develop chest pains.
The Irish in Canada series is exhibited at The Isaacs Gallery.
A Northern Nativity is published.
Jewish Life in Canada is published; works include Jewish Home Life in Montreal.
The Fields series exhibited at The Isaacs Gallery and published as a large-format book.
WK completes a mural at Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church, Toronto.
WK takes his second, and final, trip to Ukraine in preparation for an expansive series of murals depicting the history of Ukrainian pioneer settlement in Canada, intended for the walls of a federal government building in Ottawa.
WK returns to Canada and enters St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto; dies on November 3.