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 John Howard Gould  (1929 - 2010)

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Lived/Active: Ontario / Canada      Known for: surreal portrait and figure drawing, mixed media, painting, teaching, filmmaking

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from Auction House Records.
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
John Howard Gould RCA, OSA, CSGA (1929 – 2010)

A prominent Canadian painter, draftsman, educator and filmmaker, John Howard Gould was born in Toronto, Ontario and died in Barrie, Ontario. His works are in the permanent collections of several Canadian museums including the National Gallery of Canada and his biography was in the Canadian Who’s Who books from 1982 until his death. (1)

His mediums included oils, acrylics, gouache*, watercolor, pastel, graphite, colored pencil, charcoal, ink, collage, silverpoint*, oil stick, Conte crayon*, lithography*, “Drawn Films” and mixed mediums. His subjects included portraits, figures, nudes, animals, sports, the performing arts, ethnic costumes, dreams, fantasy, allegory, and social commentary. His styles were Expressionism*, Realism* and Surrealism*. AskART has some excellent illustrations of his work. (2)

His art education included the Ontario College of Art* (1948 – 1952), under Jock Macdonald and Jack Nichols; and the Academie Julian, Paris (1953). Gould was also influenced by Frederick Varley whom he knew socially and met with frequently during his school years to discuss art . Gould travelled in Mexico (1958 and 1965), Spain (1960 – 1961), Peru (1967) and Japan (1969). He taught at the Artists’ Workshop, Toronto [see glossary under Three Schools of Art, Toronto*] (1960 – 1968 and 1975 – 1976); at the Ontario College of Art*, Toronto (1962 – 1966 and 1974 – c.1994); and at the Hockley Valley School, Orangeville, Ontario [see glossary under Three Schools of Art, Toronto*] (1965 – 1968). (3)

He was a member of the Canadian Society of Graphic Art* (1956), the Ontario Society of Artists* (1963 – 1966), the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* (Associate 1963 – 1968 [resigned], Academician 1973), and the Arts and Letters Club, Toronto (1987).

He exhibited with the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* (1963, 1964 and 1976) and the Ontario Society of Artists* (1964). His works were in the Spring Exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1960) and he was the Canadian representative in the ‘Films on Art’ category at the Venice Biennale* (1966).

Gould’s works were also featured in important themed exhibitions such as “Surrealism in Canadian Painting”, London Public Library and Art Museum [now Museum London], Ontario and touring (1964); “Focus on Drawing”, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (1965); “Some Canadians in Spain”, Willistead Art Gallery [now Art Gallery of Windsor], Windsor, Ontario (1965); “Approaches to Figure Painting”, Museum London, Ontario (1970); “23rd Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Canadian Art”, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Ontario (1972); “The Figure: A Sensual Response”, Art Gallery of Brant, Brantford, Ontario (1975); “Of Human Bondage”, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario (1976); “The Work of Art: Six Artists”, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (1979); and “Made in Canada II: Artists in Books”, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1982). (4)

The public venues for his solo exhibitions included Hart House, University of Toronto (1965); Sarnia Public Library and Art Gallery [now – Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery], Sarnia, Ontario (1966); Lynnwood Arts Centre, Simco, Ontario (1974); Rodman Hall Arts Centre, St. Catherines, Ontario (1979); Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, Owen Sound, Ontario (1979); and Gallery Stratford, Stratford, Ontario (1992).

His works have also been exhibited in solo exhibitions at prominent commercial galleries such as Here and Now Art Gallery, Toronto; Dorothy Cameron Gallery, Toronto; Roberts Gallery, Toronto; Madison Gallery, Toronto; Greenwich Gallery, Toronto; Agnes Lefort Gallery, Montreal; Masters Gallery, Calgary; Arwin Galleries, Detroit; and Preston Burke Gallery, Detroit.

According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* and individual museum websites, Gould’s works are in the permanent collections of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston, Ontario), Art Gallery of Hamilton (Ontario), Art Gallery of Northumberland (Cobourg, Ontario), Art Gallery of Windsor (Ontario), Beaverbrook Art Gallery (Fredericton, New Brunswick), Carleton University Art Gallery (Ottawa, Ontario), Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery (Concordia University, Montreal), MacLaren Art Centre (Barrie, Ontario), McMaster Museum of Art (Hamilton, Ontario), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec), Museum London (Ontario), Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa, Ontario), Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery (Owen Sound, Ontario) and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa).

Among Gould’s awards are the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Award* (1960) and a Canada Council* grant (1962).
(1) Other than for extended travel, Gould always lived in southern Ontario within about 100 miles of Toronto. He moved from Toronto north to Waubaushene in 1971 and (after a stroke in 1996) from there south to Barrie in 1997. Source: Art Gallery of Northumberland, Cobourg, Ontario.

(2) Gould created over 30 films; the most well-known are composed of still drawings, narration, music and sound effects; they are referred to as "Drawn Films" – camera scanning of original drawings and paintings made specifically for the film. Roberts Gallery has several of them available for viewing online, including “Little Monday” the Venice Biennale* entry, at the following link:

(3) Please note: All artists mentioned in this biography have records in AskART.

(4) The other artists in “The Work of Art: Six Artists” exhibition were Alex Colville, Lynn Donoghue, John MacGregor, Tony Urquhart and Robert Harris. Source: The Work of Art: Six Artists (1978), by Francis Broun et al (see AskART book references).
Canadian Who’s Who – 2010 (2010), edited by Elizabeth Lumley (see AskART book references)

Biographical Index of Artists in Canada (2003), by Evelyn de Rostaing McMann (see AskART book references)

The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar (see AskART book references)

Catalogue of the National Gallery of Canada Ottawa: Canadian Art Volume Two G – K (1994), general editors Charles C. Hill and Pierre B. Landry (see AskART book references)

Art and Architecture in Canada (1991), by Loren R. Lerner and Mary F. Williamson (see AskART book references)

Canadian Who’s Who: Index 1898 – 1984 (1988), by Evelyn de R. McMann (see AskART book references)

Contemporary Canadian Art” (1983), by David Burnett and Marilyn Schiff (see AskART book references)

Who's Who in American Art 15th Edition (1982), by Jaques Cattell Press (see AskART book references)

Royal Canadian Academy of Arts: Exhibitions and Members, 1880 – 1979 (1981), by Evelyn de R. McMann (see AskART book references)

"Passionate Spirits: A History of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, 1880 – 1980" (1980), by Rebecca Sisler (see AskART book references)

The Index of Ontario Artists (1978), edited by Hennie Wolff (see AskART book references)

A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume Two, G – Jackson (1970), by Colin S. MacDonald (see AskART book references)

Agnes Etherington Art Centre (1968), by Frances K. Smith (see AskART book references)

Surrealism in Canadian Painting (1964), curated by Paddy O’Brien (see AskART book references)

Canadian Heritage Information Network*

Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art* (OSA exhibition)

Roberts Gallery, Toronto (CV)

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

Written and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
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