William Ronald

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Image:William Ronald the hero 1957.jpg
Ronald, The Hero, oil on canvas, 1957
Image:Ronald Mixed Media.jpg
Ronald, mixed media on paper, 1993

William Ronald, R.C.A. (19261998) (born Willam Ronald Smith, variant name William Smith Ronald) was an important Canadian painter, best known as the founder of the influential Canadian abstract art group Painters Eleven in 1954. Ronald's brother was the equally influential abstract painter John Meredith.

Ronald was a graduate of the Ontario College of Art who quickly found that abstract painters could not get their work exhibited in Toronto galleries. Working for the Robert Simpson Co. department store, he persuaded management to pair abstract paintings with furniture displays, thereby discovering a way to get the public to accept non-representational art. Despite the success of the show, Ronald resented the city's general attitude toward its artists, and moved to the United States, eventually becoming an American citizen. Ronald shared a studio with Frank Stella and joined the stable of artists at Manhattan's Kootz Gallery. He was quickly accepted by critics and collectors and enjoyed a multi-year period of success. Eventually, Kootz terminated his relationship with Ronald whose work, Kootz felt, was not evolving quickly enough. The crestfallen Ronald to Toronto.

Besides painting, he became known as a CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) journalist, a columnist for the Toronto Telegramme, and a host for a Citytv variety show. He continued to paint through the 1970s, '80s and '90s, moving to Montreal, Quebec, and then to Barrie, Ontario where he maintained an active studio. He gained some notoriety for his portrait series of Canadian Prime Ministers, a pioneering non-representational portrayal of heads of government opened by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in Toronto. The exhibition toured Canada, despite warnings not to exhibit the less than flattering portrait of then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Never a stranger to criticism or polemics, Ronald loved to paint in public, frequently hiring strippers and showgirls to dance around him as he painted. He continued to paint until his death in 1998.

Unfortunately, Ronald's apparent lack of focus and penchant for public attention undermined the importance of the work he produced in the 1970s, '80s and '90s. Since his death, however, the market for these works has grown and collectors are beginning to judge Ronald's later work as a natural extension of his New York-era chefs-d'oeuvre of the 1950s.


[edit] Selected exhibitions

  • 1957-1960: Kootz Gallery, NYC
  • 1960: Laing Galleries, Toronto
  • 1963: Isaacs Gallery, Toronto
  • 1962-1963: Kootz Gallery, NYC
  • 1963: Princeton University Art Gallery
  • 1965: David Mirvish Gallery, Toronto
  • 1970: Dunkelman Gallery, Toronto
  • 1971: Tom Thompson Memorial Gallery, Owen Sound, Ontario
  • 1975: Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario
  • 1977-1980: Morris Gallery, Toronto
  • 1984: Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
  • 1985: Musée d’art de Joliette, Québec
  • 1996: Christopher Cutts Gallery, Toronto
  • 2000: Christopher Cutts Gallery, Toronto

[edit] Selected collections

  • Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
  • National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
  • Museum of Modern Art, NYC
  • Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh
  • Musée d’art de Joliette, Québec
  • Guggenheim Museum, NYC
  • Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo
  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
  • York University, Toronto
  • Princeton University Art Gallery
  • Whitney Museum of Art, NYC
  • Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queens University, Kingston, Ontario
  • Brooklyn Museum, NYC
  • Edmonton Art Gallery, Alberta
  • Hirshorn Museum, Smithsonian Institute, Washington

[edit] References

  • Belton, Robert J. (1999). The Theatre of the Self: The Life and Art of William Ronald. Calgary: University of Calgary Press. ISBN 1895176603.
  • Template:Cite journal
  • Robert McLaughlin Gallery (1975). Ronald: 25 Years. Exhibition catalogue.

[edit] External links

William Ronald

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