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Harold Town biography

Town independently, but also through his membership in Painters Eleven (1953-1960), became the most famous artist of his era. ‘In the 1960s … [his] prodigious output of prints, drawings, sculpture and paintings garnered for him more publicity than all other Canadian artists combined.’ (Iris Nowell: Painters Eleven: The Wild Ones of Canadian Art, p. 166.)

Though acclaimed for his astonishing draughtsmanship and fine Abstract Expressionist paintings, Town was also lauded for – in his lexicon – Single Autographic Prints, that is, monoprints. The recognition included, for instance, the comment from Alfred Barr, the founding director of the Museum of Modern Art, that Town was ‘one of the greatest printmakers in the world.’

Town’s prints as a rule, and often his paintings, are non-objective. Both of those media convey his talent with line, form and colour. His drawings most clearly evidence his interest in film, dance, theatre and antiquity. Some of the drawings perceptively investigate social mores.

Harold Town’s work is represented in numerous collections. These include the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Stedelijk Museum, The Tate Gallery and public galleries in Switzerland, Italy, Japan, Brazil and Chile.