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

Enigma, 1967
mixed media on paper, 25½" × 20"
Enigma #13
Enigma #13, 1964
mixed media on paper, 18.75" x 23.75"
Fencer Front Viewsold
Fencer Front View, 1953
pen-ink, brush on paper, 36" × 31"
French Postcard Series (1972)
French Postcard Series, 1972
oil pastel on canson paper, 25¾" × 19"
God Series #22
God Series #22, 1979
mixed media on paper, 19" × 25"
Monument for the End of the Miles for Millions Marchessold
Monument for the End of the Miles for Millions Marches, 1979
oil on lucite canvas, 36" × 36"
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
bruch, ink, wash & rubber cement
resist on orange canson
, 20" × 24"
Stages #38
Stages #38, 1987
mixed media on board, 26½" × 26½" × 3¾"
Toy Horse #87
Toy Horse #87, 1978
mixed media on paper, 25" × 19"
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 #245sold
Toy Horse #245, 1982
mixed media on paper, 18" × 22"
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 (1955)sold
Untitled, 1955
oil / collage on board, 33¼" × 43¾"
Snap #47
Snap #47
oil on canvas, 24" × 24"
Untitled (1964)
Untitled, 1964
oil on canvas, 18" × 20"
Waiting for the Jolly Green Giantsold
Waiting for the Jolly Green Giant, 1980
oil on canvas, 30" × 40"
Windshield of Poetrysold
Windshield of Poetry, 1957
oil and lucite on canvas, 27" × 34¼"
Ship of Dreams
Ship of Dreams, 1981
oil on linen, 36" × 30"
Snap #25
Snap #25
oil on canvas, 48" × 48"
The Reverend Evan Sedgemore Blowing his Bugle Under Water
The Reverend Evan Sedgemore Blowing his Bugle Under Water, 1980
oil on canvas, 28" × 36"
Snap #53
Snap #53
oil on canvas, 60" × 60"
Vale Variation #235
Vale Variation #235, 1976
coloured crayon on paper, 19½" × 25½"
Vale Variation #84
Vale Variation #84, 1973
pen, brush & ink, graphite, gouache, and oil pastel on canson, 19¾" × 25½"
Untitled 1956
Untitled, 1956
single autographic print, 23.5" x 18.5"
Classic Landscape
Classic Landscape, 1956
single autographic print, 19.75" x 15.75"
Summer as Wished
Summer as Wished, 1959
mixed media collage on masonite, 10" x 14"

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)

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 on display at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

Alex Janvier is one of Canada's most acclaimed contemporary Indigenous artists. His career of sixty-five years has yielded thousands of paintings, and more than twenty-five murals and public commissions. This retrospective of his artwork is on display from 25 November 2016 to 17 April 2017.

(Photo credit: Kim Griffiths) Click here for more details.