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Remembering Peter Ohler Sr.

It is with heavy hearts, we share the news of the passing of Canadian Art Dealer, Peter Ohler Sr. Our condolences to his family including ADAC Board Member, Peter Ohler Jr.

Rod Green of Masters Gallery (Calgary) has written the following tribute to his mentor.

Peter Ohler Sr., was a large man with a sense of determination built-in. An eclectic fellow that at one time in the 1960s was a professional football player with the BC Lions, taught English literature at Vancouver College, and ran Ohler’s Book and Art Den. It was the last occupation that steered his course throughout his life.

Peter’s interest in Canadian art came during the early ’60s after a game in Ottawa when he visited the National Gallery of Canada and said “when I saw the Group of Seven works the hair on the back of my neck stood up”! By the early 70’s Peter had started working at the Art Emporium with Torben Kristiansen and proved to be very successful. His personable and outgoing style along with his sales IQ of the clients he was serving allowed Peter to flourish.

He left the Art Emporium in 1976 and headed east to Calgary. The oil and gas boom coincided with Peter’s arrival and after arranging to lease the Graphic Eight premises on 4 St SW from Sonia de Grandmaison (daughter of artist Nicholas de Grandmaison) he was in business. Peter developed a fine reputation for quality works, fair dealing, and educating his clientele. He started to handle Janet Mitchell, she lead him to Marion Nicol, Margaret Shelton, and a host of other influential Alberta artists. The dye was set and the booming economy of Calgary provided all the support that Peter and Masters Gallery would need for the foreseeable future. The only detrimental aspect of Calgary was the “boom” fell apart in 1983. Sales dropped from 6 million to 3.5 million between 1983-1985, and Peter’s health suffered from unstoppable cluster migraines and in 1986 he decided to return to his home city of Vancouver.

Peter continued private art dealing, coaching football at Simon Fraser and mentoring me as his protege when I assumed the role of heading up Masters Gallery in 1986. Peter Ohler Jr., had been working part-time at Masters with his father and continued to work at Masters joining the gallery full time in the late ’80s. Peter Jr. then became a partner in Masters in the late ’90s as the gallery continued to be successful. Peter Sr., was a great fellow, fun-loving, generous, wrote terrific poems (some clients have kept his poems to this day) loved his family and was loved by many far and wide”. 

–         Rod Green, Masters Gallery

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