Ralph Boutilier,

Born: 1906  |  Died: 1989

Ralph Boutilier. Sculptor. Painter. Woodcarver. Milton, Nova Scotia.  Active mid-20th century.

Ralph Boutilier was an accomplished painter very early in his life and turned to carving in the 1960’s. While he has made carvings, some life-sized, of people; he is most known for his elaborate mechanical whirligigs of metal and wood in the form of  various kinds of birds. His whirligigs tended to be big and rather heavy and often required considerable wind to drive them. They are essentially concept sculptures.He has been published and is in Museum and private collections throughout North America.

Ref: Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, A Life of Its Own Chris Huntington and the Resurgence of Nova Scotia Folk Art (1997).

Ref: Nova Scotia Folk Art Festival Society, A Joyous Vision – Contemporary Folk Art in Nova Scotia(1995).

Ref: Marie Elwood. Folk Art of Nova Scotia. Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Halifax. 1976.

Ref: Blake McKendry, An Illustrated Companion to Canadian Folk Art (1999).

A short film from the CBC Archives. Web link: