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 Thomas Frederick Haig Chatfield  (1921 - 1999)



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Lived/Active: Ontario / Canada      Known for: landscape, portrait, harbor, figure and village scene painting

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Thomas Frederick Haig Chatfield SCA (1921 – 1999)

A popular Canadian painter and commercial artist, Thomas Frederick Haig Chatfield (usually signs: Thomas F. Chatfield) was born in Toronto, Ontario and lived most of his life in that city’s environs; he died in Oakville, Ontario a town about 20 miles west of Toronto. His primary mediums were oils and acrylics. His most well-known subjects were landscapes, however his subjects have included portraits, genre*, figures, mountains, harbors and village scenes. His style was Fauvism*. AskART has some excellent illustrations of his most typical work. Attached below is his biography courtesy of Abbozzo Gallery:

Born in Toronto, Ontario in 1921, Tom Chatfield had an ambition as a youngster in public school—to be a pilot. Before reaching high school, however, he was ‘grounded’ permanently, by his art teacher, Marjorie Hudgins. Long his number one fan, Miss Hudgins saw enough potential in young Chatfield to suggest art as a lifetime career. “She turned me on,” Chatfield admits. “I forgot about flying and devoted myself to learning how to draw and paint and it’s been my consuming commitment ever since.”

From public school, Chatfield went to Northern Vocational High School [Toronto] which provided him with a solid grounding through a spectrum of graphic forms. Graduating from Northern, he landed a job in the art department of Famous Players, Canada’s leading chain of motion picture theatres, where he designed newspaper ads by day and, by night, attended the Ontario College of Art*.

Eight years at OCA persuaded Chatfield he wanted to be a portrait painter, but in the 1950’s, encouraged by a fellow-artist, he turned to landscapes and once again his orientation took a definitive turn.

By 1959, Tom Chatfield’s vigorously-painted landscapes were conveying enough individual style and impact to encourage Toronto’s Upstairs Gallery to stage his first one-man show. Since then he has had more than 30 one-man shows across Canada. Resigning from Famous Players in 1967, he has been painting full-time in his home-studio in Oakville, a few miles west of Toronto.

A charter member and past-president of the Society of Canadian Artists, Chatfield has exhibited with that organization, along with the Royal Canadian Academy [of Arts]*, Ontario Society of Artists*, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Waterloo University, and was an award-winner in the 1969 “Artists’ Choice” show as part of the Canadian National Exhibition [Toronto]. [1]

Following his Upstairs Gallery debut, one-man shows by Chatfield have been held in such Toronto Galleries as the Scottish Gallery (1962), Sobot Gallery annually from 1964 to 1969 and the Shaw-Rimmington Gallery (1970-71).

In Oakville he has exhibited at the Upper Canada Country Club (1965) and Arcade Gallery (1966). Shows were held in Edmonton’s Downstairs Gallery [Alberta] in 1969, 70, 71 and at the Hemingway Gallery in Jamestown, New York in 1969. Damkjar-Burton Gallery exhibited his work in 1968-69 and the Damkjar Gallery in nearby Burlington staged a show in 1971. His work was also shown in the United States and at a major exhibition at Canada House in London, England [solo 1973]. For many years, Chatfield was represented by McLaren Barnes Gallery in Oakville.

Chatfield was a long-standing member of the Toronto Arts and Letters Club and a founding member of the Oakville Art Society.

Source: Courtesy of Abbozzo Gallery, Oakville, Ontario.


[1] Please note: In 1980, Chatfield’s paintings were the subject of a solo exhibition at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario. Source: McMichael Canadian Art Collection (seven page exhibition catalogue). MDS

Additional sources:

“Biographical Index of Artists in Canada” (2003), by Evelyn de Rostaing McMann

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

“The Index of Ontario Artists” (1978), edited by Hennie Wolff

Canadian Heritage Information Network*

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

Submitted by M.D. Silverbrooke


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