Harold Town, O.S.A., R.C.A. (1924-1990)

Snap #25
Snap #25, 1972
oil on canvas, 48" × 48"
Untitled, 1958
oil and lucite on canvas, 10" ×10"
Snap #53sold
Snap #53, 1973
oil on canvas, 60" × 60"
Painting That Refused to be a Park
Painting That Refused to be a Park 1970-1
oil on canvas, 66" × 66"
Light Support
Light Support 1980-1
oil on canvas, 75" × 75"
Fencer Front Viewsold
Fencer Front View, 1953
pen-ink, brush on paper, 36" × 31"
God Series #22
God Series #22, 1979
mixed media on paper, 19" × 25"
Untitled, 1976
Untitled (Mythologies God Series), 1976
graphite on water colour paper, 27½" × 33¼"
Humphrey Bogart, #14
Humphrey Bogart, #14, 1971
charcoal on paper, 32.5" × 23"
Oliver Hardy, #613
Oliver Hardy, #613, 1971
brush, ink, wash, 20" × 24"
Stages #38, 1987
mixed media on board, 19" × 19.5" × 3"
Classic Landscape
Classic Landscape, 1956
single autographic print, 19.75" x 15.75"
Toy Horse #255
Toy Horse #255, 1982
gouache on board, 60" × 40"
Toy Horse #148
Toy Horse #148, 1979
mixed media on paper, 29½" × 36½"
Toy Horse #243
Toy Horse #243
mixed media on paper, 30½" × 30"
Toy Horse #284
Toy Horse #284
mixed media on paper, 23½" × 23½"
Toy Horse #325
Toy Horse #325, 1982
mixed media on paper, 18" × 22"
Untitled (1964)
Untitled, 1964
oil on canvas, 18" × 20"
Ship of Dreamssold
Ship of Dreams, 1981
oil on linen, 36" × 30"
Vale Variation #235
Vale Variation #235, 1976
coloured crayon on paper, 19½" × 25½"
The Reverend Evan Sedgemore Blowing his Bugle Under Water
The Reverend Evan Sedgemore Blowing his Bugle Under Water, 1980
oil on canvas, 28" × 36"
Untitled 1956
Untitled, 1956
single autographic print, 23.5" x 18.5"

See: Harold Town's Popsters & Celebrities (Lithographs)


Harold Town, O.S.A., R.C.A. (1924-1990) – Artist Biography

Harold Town

One of the last formal photographs taken
of Harold Town, John Reeves, 1986. Courtesy of
the Robert McLaughlin Gallery and reproduced
in Iris Nowell's "Painters Eleven: The Wild
Ones of Canadian Art" pg. 173.

Harold Town (June 13, 1924 - December 27, 1990) was an abstract painter and one of the most widely exhibited artists in Canada. He is best known as a founding member of the Painters Eleven, having coined the term for this artistic group himself. The name refers to the eleven Abstract Expressionist artists who banded together in Toronto between 1953 and 1960: Tom Hodgson, Jack Bush, William Ronald, Alexandra Luke, Oscar Cahén, Jock MacDonald, Ray Mead, Hortense Gordon, Walter Yarwood, Kazuo Nakamura and, of course, Harold Town.

Harold Town attended the Ontario College of Art and graduated in 1945. Preceeding his career in painting, Harold Town had an established career as a commercial illustrator. He was employed by ad agencies and magazines such as Macleans, Mayfair and the Imperial Oil Review. Under the instruction and encouragement of his artistic mentors, Oscar Cahén and Albert Franck, Harold Town began to create and exhibit his artwork. He drew his inspiration from visiting cultural institutions in Toronto, such as the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum.

It was ultimately Harold Town's skill as a printmaker that garnered him the recognition he deserved. He developed a form of monotype in 1953, which he called "single autographic prints" (or SAPs). Each SAP was an original and unique work of art that revealed his true skill in printmaking. Harold Town would create vivid colours and shapes through overlaying inks, sometimes using art materials to add dimension and texture to his pieces. His SAPs were discovered by the National Gallery of Canada, who requested to have Harold Town represent Canada in the 28th Venice Biennale in 1956.

Harold Town's participation in the Painters Eleven also helped to bring his artwork to the centrefold of the Canadian art scene. The group's first exhibition took place at the Roberts Gallery in Toronto in 1954. Their efforts helped popularize the new style of Abstract Expressionism, which was slowly edging its way into Canada in the late 1950's from New York. By 1960, Harold Town's career took off as he became internationally recognized for his monumental compositions and unpredictable use of acid colours. His talent and dedication to art was shown through his ability to work with a variety of materials, colours and subject matters in sculpture, printmaking, drawing and painting. He continued painting up until a few months before his untimely death from cancer in 1990 at the age of 60.

"He was a celebrity in Canada, quick-witted, quotable, funny, and delightfully unpredictable. He wrote with wicked virtuosity, and had opinions on everything. His bigger-than-life presence permeated Toronto at the time...Town moved from one medium and studio to another with casual ease, and what I again noted particularly, having spent a lot of time dropping in, was that he had, more than any other artist I know, an ability simply to dive into his work without a second of hesitation. With tools always at the ready, his mind sprinting off the start line, his eye unerring, and his hand capable of extraordinary dexterity, he worked with a wolfish sort of glee"

- David P. Silcox, Executor for the Estate of Harold Town, 2003

Harold Town's work is included in Canadian and American art institutions such as the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and other leading international galleries.

Past Exhibitions

Harold Town
Selected Works: 1953 - 1982
November 1 to November 21, 2014

This exhibition showcases paintings done by Harold Town throughout his extensive career, spanning from the early 1950's and ending a few years before his death in 1990.

(image: Ship of Dreams)

Harold Town
Toy Horses
March 22 to April 7, 2011

This exhibition displays the works of one of Harold Town's most popular series, Toy Horse. This series, a collection which spans almost a decade, was inspired by a small antique Christmas present Harold Town received: a tin horse with pedals

(image: Toy Horse #229)

Note: sold indicates the piece has been sold.

Daphne OdjigDaphne Odjig, Canadian Indigenous Artist and Icon Dies at 97. Click here for more details.

Odjig is frequently referred to as the "Grandmother of Indigenous Art." She has been the recipient of many awards, honours and recognitions for her works, to name a few: The Order of Canada, the Governor General's Award, and eight Honorary Doctorates. Her works have been shown in the National Gallery of Canada, The McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

She established the first native-run fine art print house in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1971. Known as 'Odjig Indian Prints,' this print house was so successful that it evolved into an Indigenous gallery space in 1974, called the New Warehouse Gallery, run by Odjig and her husband, Chester Beavon. She was also a founding member of the Indian Group of Seven. This artistic group's purpose was to promote Contemporary Indigenous art and artists.

Alex JanvierAlex Janvier's major retrospective, "Alex Janvier: Modern Indigenous Master" is now open at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario until January 21st, 2018. Afterwards, it will travel to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton and the Glenbow Museum in Calgary.

This exhibition was recently on display at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa and the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina. Alex Janvier is one of Canada's most acclaimed contemporary artists. His career of sixty-five years has yielded thousands of paintings, and more than twenty-five murals and public commissions. (Photo credit: Kim Griffiths)

Rita Letendre

It is with profound sadness that Gallery Gevik announces the passing of our dear friend Rita Letendre, one of Canada’s most renowned, trailblazing artists. She passed away on November 20, 2021 after a long illness. She was 93 years old.