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William Ronald

William Ronald was born in 1926 and died in 1998 in Ontario. He was the founder of Painters Eleven, the pioneer movement of Modernism in Canada.

William Ronald graduated from the Ontario College of Art in Toronto in 1951 and began working as a display artist for the Robert Simpson Company department store. In 1952, he visited New York City where he studied with the American Abstract Expressionist painter, Hans Hofmann. Back in Canada, he persuaded Simpson’s to pair abstract paintings with furniture displays for a show titled Abstracts at Home, a creative way to get the public to accept non-representational art. Painters Eleven came together as a result of this show. Ronald exhibited with the group in Toronto (1953-55) and in New York (1956) (The River, 1956). Their first exhibition, in 1954, was also the first major commercial display of abstract art in Toronto. The Painters Eleven included the eleven Canadian artists William Ronald, Jack Bush, Oscar Cahén, Hortense Gordon, Tom Hodgson, Alexandra Luke, Jock Macdonald, Ray Mead, Kazuo Nakamura, Harold Town and Walter Yarwood.

William Ronald won the International Guggenheim Awards, Canadian Section in 1956, and was part of the National Gallery of Canada’s Second Biennial of Canadian Painting in 1957. In 1977, he was awarded a Canada Councils senior arts award to pursue his Prime Ministers project.


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