Find, Learn, Price Art
Enjoy the comprehensive art database we've compiled since 1987
Membership Details
Images, sales charts, bios, signatures, 30 artist Alerts and more ...
Art auction records:  Millions of references for pricing research
Or, register for Free Alerts
To track 10 artists.

Already a member?  Sign in here

Paul Ygartua

 (born 1945)
Paul Ygartua is active/lives in British Columbia / Canada.  Paul Ygartua is known for Native American portrait, land-and streetscape painting, surrealism, murals.

Paul Ygartua

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Paul Ygartua
Paul Ygartua NDD (1945)

Paul Ygartua is a painter and muralist with bases in Canada, France, Spain and England.  He has single handedly painted some of the largest public space murals* in Canada and the United States.  His most famous works are his "Heritage Series" depicting North American Indians and other ethnic and cultural groups.  Its style and images are instantly recognized by many Canadians because of their exposure to Ygartua's murals at Expo 86 (Vancouver) and at Chemainus, B.C. [see Mural Towns*].

His work is also illustrated in numerous books such as Canadian Landmarks and Popular Places (1991), by Lindor  Reynolds; Canada: Coast to Coast (1998), edited by Andrew R. Byers; The Encyclopedia of British Columbia (2000), edited by Daniel Francis; and The Expo Celebration: The Official Retrospective Book (1986) by Derik Murray. (1)

Ygartua was born in Bebington, England (a suburb of Liverpool); he emigrated to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1966, which has been his home base since then, when not traveling. (2)

His primary mediums are acrylic on canvas and fresco*, although, he has works in oil, graphite, pen and ink, pastel, poster, lithograph* and mixed mediums.  His subjects include landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes, figures, portraits, still life, nudes, social commentary, cultural anthropology, native Indians, the unconscious, and as an abstractionist -  shape, color, and texture.  His styles are Realism*, Expressionism*, Abstract Expressionism*, Neo-Expressionism, Surrealism* and Abstract Surrealism. (3)

He graduated from the Liverpool School of Art in 1965 with a degree in Industrial Design (NDD).  He turned to painting full time within a few years of arriving in Canada (c.1968) and has been a full-time painter and muralist since then; his works are in thousands of private and corporate collections. (4)

He's exhibited on all continents except Antarctica and regularly travels in Canada, the USA, Europe and Great Britain.  He has also worked in Berlin, Germany (1968); Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (1971, 1999 and 2000); Crete and Corfu, Greece (1972); Gran Canaria, Canary Islands (1973); Scottsdale, Arizona (1976); New Orleans, Louisiana (1978); Jerusalem, Israel (1980); Honolulu, Hawaii (1981 and 1982); Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1984); San Juan, Puerto Rico (1985); Quebec City, Canada (1994); Sydney, Australia (2002); and Montreal, Canada (2001). His most frequent work locations away from Vancouver are Cannes and Paris, France; London, England; and Bilbao and Barcelona, Spain. (5)  

His paintings have been exhibited with the Federation of Canadian Artists* (1979,1981 and 1987); Expo 86, Vancouver, Canada (1986); New York Art Expo (1987); Salon d'Automne*, Grand Palais, Paris, France (1990, 1992, 1994 and 1995); The Canadian Heritage Art Society (1991); Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum (1991, 1992 and 1997); Sala de Cultura, Bilbao, Spain (2003); and the Firenze Biennale, Florence, Italy (2005). (6)

The locations of some of his largest murals include Waikiki, Hawaii (Rodeo Club, 7ft X 25 ft - 1981); Chemainus, B.C. (Native Heritage, 25ft X 50ft - 1983 and The Hermit, 8ft X 16ft -  2008 );  Vancouver, B.C. (EXPO '86 United Nations Pavilion A World United,  30ft  X 100ft - 1986); Cannes, France (La Croisette, 5 Panels - 1995); Oshawa, Ontario (Oshawa Generals, 15ft X 35 ft - 1997); Whistler, B.C. (Totem Village, 15ft X 25 ft - 2000); Surrey, B.C. (International Beachcomber Record Breakers, 30ft X 300 ft - 2000); Ely, Nevada (United by Our Children, 30ft X 110ft -  2001); and Gorliz, Spain (Gorliz Gehituz, 30ft X 92 ft - 2010). (7)  

In addition to the books noted above, his work is discussed in Artists of British Columbia (1986), by Derek Morys-Edge (illustrated); The Chemainus Murals (1998), by Cynthia Bunbury and Gregg Perry (illustrated); and The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar.  Ygartua is also the subject of the monograph Primordial Chaos (2008), by Carlo Cambi and Flora Rovigo.


(1) Note: An Ygartua "Heritage Series" mural is illustrated in color in all four books (see AskART book references).

Note: Currently, a 7,600 square foot mural completed by 8 artists in Vancouver, Canada and sponsored by the provincial government is advertised as the largest mural in western Canada; Ygartua's "International Beachcomber" mural, less than 30 miles away, has an area of 9,000 square feet! Murals listed as the world's largest, by other artists or cities, range in area size from 346 square feet in Cairo, Egypt, painted by one artist, to 20,000 square feet in Jacksonville, Florida, painted by 12 artists. Sources:;; and

(2) Note: Throughout his life, Ygartua has frequently lived and worked away from Vancouver for extended periods of several months or more, see paragraph six for a partial list of those residences.

Note: Most sources say he emigrated to Canada in 1965, we have confirmed with his wife that the date is 1966.  Source: January 2011 phone interview with Joanne Ygartua.

(3) Sources: Artists of British Columbia (1986), by Derek Morys-Edge; The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar (see previous books in AskART book references); Living Passion (draft of yet to be published monograph by Petru Russu and Joanne Ygartua); and Ygartua. Com -

(4) Sources: January 2011 interview with Joanne Ygartua; and Primordial Chaos (2008), by Carlo Cambi and Flora Rovigo (see AskART books).

(5) Sources: Interview with Joanne Ygartua; Living Passion (draft of yet to be published monograph by Petru Russu and Joanne Ygartua); and Primordial Chaos (2008), by Carlo Cambi and Flora Rovigo (see AskART books).

(6) Sources: "Primordial Chaos" (2008), by Carlo Cambi and Flora Rovigo (see AskART books); Living Passion (draft of yet to be published monograph by Petru Russu and Joanne Ygartua); and

(7) Ibid. Note: The measurements used are from Ygartua.Com but listed with height first, slight variances in mural sizes have been noted in other sources.

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

Prepared by M.D. Silverbrooke.

Biography from Westbridge Fine Art Auction House Ltd.
Biography photo for Paul Ygartua

Born near Liverpool, England, Paul Ygartua studied at the Liverpool College of Art; and gold and silversmithing.  He came to Canada in 1965, and settled in Vancouver, British Columbia, but travels extensively worldwide. 

Working in oil, acrylic, watercolor, and ink, he is best known for his portraits of native peoples in Canada, the United States, Brazil, and the Basque region of Spain.  He completed a series on Chief Dan George, and the Basques (1985), as well as murals in Chemainus, British Columbia (1983), and for the United Nations Pavilion at Expo '86, Vancouver. 

He also paints landscape, streetscapes, and surrealist scenes.  His work is in the collection of the CMC.


Biography courtesy of The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction: Volume IV: S-Z

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Share an image of the Artist

  Full access to biographies is
  free each Friday
Biography photo for Paul Ygartua
Circa 2008

About  Paul Ygartua

Born:  1945 - Bebington, England
Known for:  Native American portrait, land-and streetscape painting, surrealism, murals