Harold Town



Harold Town (1924-1990) is the ultimate chameleon of Canadian art. One of the founders of Painters Eleven, he remains one of the most fascinating characters from this important collective of abstract artists in Toronto. 

Despite Town's contribution to the emergence of abstraction in Canada, Town never abandoned or rejected figuration. In fact even as his reputation soared in the mid 1950's for his layered "Single Autographic Prints" he continued to do line drawings and other representational prints.

During the 1970's, (possibly his most under-appreciated era) Town produced three figurative series: the Vale Variations (1972–77), the Gods (1975–79), and Toy Horses (1976–84).  It is worth mentioning that these series overlap, for example Town also worked on Toy Horses using the same blue paper as he did for this drawing. 

Since his youth Town had been fascinated by history and mythology. In the God Series, he explored the allegorical elements of classical myths. In this work we find the Grecian hero Cadmus, the original dragon slayer, in the midst of his pivotal battle, a moment that would ultimately lead to his establishment of the city of Thebes. 

Like the best works by Town from the 1970's this bold drawing has many of the characteristics of the eras; simple yet bold forms, confident colors and a compelling narrative. 

Today, Town's work is represented in prestigious collections across North America including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Museum of Modern Art (New York), and the Guggenheim (New York).

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"Cadmus Slaying a Dragon (God Series)"

Canada, 1976

Pastel, graphite and colored chalk on blue paper

Signed and dated by the artist

18.75"H 24.75"W (work)

26.25"H 31.75"W (framed)

Framed with museum glass

Very good condition.

Provenance: The Estate of Harold Town

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