Historic Art | John Gould R.C.A.

About the Artist

(Toronto, Ontario 1929-Barrie, Ontario, 2010)

Born in Toronto, Ontario, he enjoyed a creative family background. (His mother published several volumes of her poetry and his father has directed and acted in theatrical productions). He entered the Ontario College of Art in 1948 where he studied drawing and painting and graduated in 1952, In his painting he has been influenced b Frederick Varley and Jock MacDonald. Gould, in the company of other students would meet Varley every day in a pub where they would stand and listen to him talk on form; – fifteen minutes of which Gould felt equalled a year of study (on the same matter) in art school. After graduation from the Ontario College of Art he went to France and studied at the Académie Julian and then travelled in Europe. When he returned home he went hitchhiking to Mexico, Vancouver and back to Toronto. Between these periods of travel, he did odd jobs and was careful not to be lured into the field of commercial art which he found confining. He worked for some time in the paint shops of the CBC's Television studios. By 1960 he had established himself as a promising artist and won the Elizabeth T. Greenshield Foundation Award which made possible his trip to Spain in the company of his wife and year old daughter. There he was able to work freely at his art and produced a fine collection of sketches on which Alan Jarvis made the following comments, "In his sketch-books from Spain, Gould reveals himself...as a sensitive observer and a very talented documentor, and from these notes he has produced a good number of important works, such as 'Quandrilla'." This work which Jarvis referred to, was an effective oil painting depicting a group of banderilleros waiting to play their part in the bullfight. Jarvis made his deft comparison between Gould and Degas as follows, "Gould, however brought a fresh eye to the bullring and, in some of his strongest works, captured the quieter and less obvious moments of the drama: the moments of silence and waiting, the moments of intense concentration for the professionals involved – as Degas drew the dancers waiting in the wings..." In portraiture, Gould has been thought of as a budding Varley, a high commendation indeed – not purely by an emulation of Varley but in his own natural abilities in draftsmanship and originality. he won the Hadassah First Prize Award in 1961 and in the same year (autumn) he held his first one man show at the Here and Now Art Gallery in Toronto. He then exhibited at the Dorothy Cameron Gallery (his disrobing series) in the winter of 1963. Gould appeared on Elwood Glover's "Luncheon Date" (CBC-TV) when he was interviewed about his recent one man show (1968) at the Roberts Gallery, Toronto, entitled "Indian and our Country". This exhibition included his conte drawings of Indians. He has taught drawing (evenings) at the Royal Canadian Academy (A.R.C.A.), the Ontario Society of Artists and the Canadian Society of Graphic Art. He is represented in the collections of Dr. G.A.Pengelley, Mr. & Mrs. Percy Waxer, Mrs. T.P. Lownsbrough and many others. (A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, volume 2: G-Jackson, compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, first edition, Canadian Paperbacks)


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