Shortly after graduating from the Regina College School of Art in 1958, where Murray studied painting with artists Roy Kiyooka (1926–1994), Kenneth Lochhead (1926–2006), and Arthur McKay (1926–2000), he received his first commission to create a fountain sculpture for City Hall in Saskatoon. Murray built Rainmaker, 1959–60, his first large-scale sculpture, with John East Iron Works, a local foundry and fabricator. The black-green piece consists of two opposing curves resting on vertical bases. Rainmaker caused an outcry among some members of the public who felt that a figurative artwork would have better represented the city. In spite of the controversy, Murray had found his calling in monumental non-representational sculpture, and began a life-long practice of building works with industrial fabricators.
Mastery in Metal
Robert Murray, Rainmaker, 1959–60
Painted steel, 243.8 cm, Collection of City Hall, Saskatoon. Photo credit: Robert Murray.