In addition to being an artist, William Kurelek was also a picture framer. After leaving the Netherne psychiatric hospital in England, Kurelek was hired by F.A. Pollaks, a prestigious framing business that is still in operation in London, England. and received training in framing and gilding.
He worked at Pollaks between 1956 and 1959 while, at the same time, taking further courses on frame finishing techniques in the evenings. In England, framing was considered an art form unto itself and required the talents of highly trained fine craftspeople.
After Kurelek returned to Toronto in late 1959, he was hired as a framer by The Isaacs Gallery, where he worked from 1960 until 1970. Kurelek framed most of his own paintings at Isaacs, often developing unique frames that reflected his paintings’ aesthetic and thematic content.
In many cases, his frames are integral to the work of art as a whole. Through his intimate portraits of workshop tools, and other singular objects, Kurelek revealed his acute observational nature, as well as a profound belief in the dignity of handiwork and manual labour.