Harold Barling Town

Harold Barling Town - Heffel Gallery

Harold Barling Town

1924 - 1990
CGP CPE CSGA OC OSA P11 RCA

Born in Toronto in 1924, Harold Town studied at the Western Technical School and the Ontario College of Art until 1945. Following his studies, he worked as an illustrator for Maclean’s and Mayfair before becoming immersed in the art scene. He also became a lively writer, contributing essays for catalogues, and was the coauthor of the Tom Thomson biography The Silence and the Storm. Among others, he illustrated Leonard Cohen’s book Beautiful Losers and Irving Layton’s Love Where the Nights are Long: An Anthology of Canadian Love Poems.
Town traveled to New York City and Chicago in 1948, where he saw the works of American Abstract Expressionist artists. Outspoken and charismatic, he became a seminal figure in the development of abstract art in Canada. In 1953 he joined Painters Eleven, an innovative group of abstract painters that included Jack Bush and William Ronald. Active from 1953 to 1960, they exposed the public to modernist movements such as Abstract Expressionism.
Town worked in a variety of media – painting, printmaking, assemblage and collage. Collage was said to be at the heart of his work, and David Burnett wrote that they were “ a complex, multi-directional interweaving of technique, materials, experience and expression.” He rocketed to prominence in the 1950s, creating an explosion of innovative work in many different series. He achieved considerable recognition for his autographic prints, a series of monoprint works produced between 1953 and 1959. Widely appreciated nationally, their reputation spread internationally as they received awards in Yugoslavia, Chile and New York. In 1958 he was awarded what was the largest public art commission to that date in Canada – a 10 by 37 foot mural for a hydroelectric dam at Cornwall, which inaugurated the St. Lawrence Seaway. Between 1957 and 1964, he had 15 solo exhibitions – in Toronto, Montreal, Regina, Vancouver, New York and New Jersey, and his work was included in about 70 group exhibitions in Canada and internationally. He was known for his inventive imagery, expressionist brushwork and his control over his painterly images, which engaged in a push-pull of dynamic tension across his surfaces.
Town exhibited internationally extensively – he represented Canada in the 1956 and 1965 Venice Biennale, and participated in the Milan Triennial, the Bienal de São Paulo, Documenta in Kassel and the World’s Fair in Brussels. He was the recipient of a Guggenheim award in 1960, and in 1966 received an honorary doctorate from York University in Toronto as well as the Order Of Canada. His work is in the collections of London’s Tate Gallery, and the Guggenheim, Metropolitain Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Retrospectives of his work were held at the Windsor Art Gallery in 1975 and the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1986. Town passed away in 1990, remembered for his quintessential part in shaping the Toronto modern art scene of the 1950s and 1960s.



Heffel's Top Results

Record Harold Barling Town sale - Heffel Gallery - buy and sell art Harold Barling Town
Toast
16 x 20in 40.6 x 50.8cm
oil and lucite on canvas

Estimate:  $10,000 - $15,000 CDN
Sold for:   $29,250 CDN (premium included)
At Heffel's Spring 2009 - 1st Session auction on Wednesday, June 17, 2009



Record Harold Barling Town sale - Heffel Gallery - buy and sell art Harold Barling Town
Cornucopia
24 3/4 x 30 3/4in 62.9 x 78.1cm
oil and lucite on canvas

Estimate:  $15,000 - $20,000 CDN
Sold for:   $29,250 CDN (premium included)
At Heffel's Spring 2013 - 1st Session auction on Wednesday, May 15, 2013



Record Harold Barling Town sale - Heffel Gallery - buy and sell art Harold Barling Town
Night and Day Signs
11 1/2 x 23 3/4in 29.2 x 60.3cm
oil and lucite 44 on board

Estimate:  $10,000 - $12,000 CDN
Sold for:   $26,325 CDN (premium included)
At Heffel's Fall 2010 - 1st Session auction on Thursday, November 25, 2010



Record Harold Barling Town sale - Heffel Gallery - buy and sell art Harold Barling Town
No Sun
30 x 24in 76.2 x 61cm
oil and lucite 44 on board

Estimate:  $20,000 - $30,000 CDN
Sold for:   $23,400 CDN (premium included)
At Heffel's Fall 2011 - 1st Session auction on Thursday, November 24, 2011



Record Harold Barling Town sale - Heffel Gallery - buy and sell art Harold Barling Town
Push
23 3/8 x 25in 59.4 x 63.5cm
oil on board

Estimate:  $15,000 - $20,000 CDN
Sold for:   $23,400 CDN (premium included)
At Heffel's Fall 2011 - 1st Session auction on Thursday, November 24, 2011



Record Harold Barling Town sale - Heffel Gallery - buy and sell art Harold Barling Town
Abstract
15 1/2 x 17in 39.4 x 43.2cm
oil and lucite 44 on board

Estimate:  $8,000 - $10,000 CDN
Sold for:   $22,230 CDN (premium included)
At Heffel's Spring 2011 - 1st Session auction on Tuesday, May 17, 2011



Record Harold Barling Town sale - Heffel Gallery - buy and sell art Harold Barling Town
Untitled
17 x 16in 43.2 x 40.6cm
oil and lucite on board

Estimate:  $8,000 - $12,000 CDN
Sold for:   $18,720 CDN (premium included)
At Heffel's Fall 2013 - 1st Session auction on Thursday, November 28, 2013



Record Harold Barling Town sale - Heffel Gallery - buy and sell art Harold Barling Town
Untitled
26 1/4 x 24 1/4in 66.7 x 61.6cm
oil and lucite 44 on canvas

Estimate:  $12,000 - $15,000 CDN
Sold for:   $17,550 CDN (premium included)
At Heffel's Spring 2012 - 1st Session auction on Thursday, May 17, 2012



Record Harold Barling Town sale - Heffel Gallery - buy and sell art Harold Barling Town
Forbidden Gaiety
30 x 30in 76.2 x 76.2cm
oil on board

Estimate:  $6,000 - $8,000 CDN
Sold for:   $17,250 CDN (premium included)
At Heffel's September 2007 - 1st Session auction on Saturday, September 29, 2007



Record Harold Barling Town sale - Heffel Gallery - buy and sell art Harold Barling Town
Interior of a Holiday
48 x 48in 121.9 x 121.9cm
mixed media collage on board

Estimate:  $4,000 - $5,000 CDN
Sold for:   $13,800 CDN (premium included)
At Heffel's Fine Canadian Art Fall 2005 auction on Thursday, November 24, 2005


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