"Harold Town has been called the 'Picasso of Canadian art'
and is clearly something of a legend in his own time"- William
Withrow, art critic
Harold Barling Town was born in Toronto and
studied at the Western Technical School and the Ontario College
of Art. He was first recognized
for his illustrations
in Maclean's magazine and for his membership in "Painters Eleven",
a group of radical artists that exhibited in the late fifties. This group of
Toronto abstract exressionist painters which included Jack Bush and William Ronald
took their cues from contemporary post-war Amercian artists such as Jackson Pollock,
Mark Rothe, and Willem de Kooning.
Town is recognized as a seminal figure in the
development and popularization of abstract art in the Fifties and Sixties
in English Canada. A prolific and tireless
experimenter, Harold Town was well known for his dramatic murals and his
bold prints and collages. He was also known for his colorful,
caustic wit, confrontational manner, and his hyperbolic remarks about art.
Town once stated: "I paint to defy death"
"His ability as a draftsman is undisputed and his single
autographic prints, produced between 1955 and 1957, were surely
among the most beautiful art objects
ever made by a Canadian artist."-William Withrow
In 1957, Harold Town was
awarded, jointly with another artist, a prize for his prints at the Bienal
of San Paulo. Redkettle's print entitled "Gentleman" is
from this period and is signed and numbered.
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