Renowned artist Ken Danby, one of Canada's foremost realist painters, has died at age 67. Ken Danby died while canoeing in Algonquin Park.
Danby is best known for his 1972 painting At the Crease, showing a masked hockey player. The egg tempera work hangs in reproduction in countless homes of Canadian hockey lovers. Danby's sports paintings are among his best-loved images, among them Lacing Up and Hockey Night in Canada, a tribute to 50 years of CBC coverage of the game. His famous sports images include The Great Farewell, painted for Wayne Gretzky when he decided to retire from playing hockey.
Danby was a member of the governing board of the Canada Council from 1985 to 1991, a trustee of the National Gallery of Canada from 1991 to 1995 and was awarded an honorary doctorate of fine arts from Laurentian University in 1997.
Danby was a member of both the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada.
He is survived by his wife, Gillian, and three sons.
KEN DANBY BIO CONT...
Ken then began his personal odyssey at the age of 20, to not only learn and grow independently as an artist, but to somehow support himself through his artistic abilities. It was a struggle, but he persevered through a multitude of art related jobs over the next three years, all the while nurturing his personal exploration of various directions in his painting and drawing. In 1963, after having returned to a representational focus in his work, and needing some reinforcement of his convictions in this regard, Danby arranged to review his work with gallery owner, Walter Moos, of Toronto. Moos was positive and supportive when his keen eye recognized the artist's exceptional abilities. In 1964, Gallery Moos presented Danby's first one-man show, which promptly sold out and set an example that was repeated and surpassed over many years.
So began an artist-dealer relationship that continues today - even though Gallery Moos is no longer Danby's "exclusive" representative. Over the years, Danby and Moos have presented many one-man exhibitions and the artist has participated in numerous group shows internationally. Major collectors, including private, corporate and museum collections, responded enthusiastically and the artist is today recognized internationally as one of the world's foremost realist painters - as well as being one of Canada's best known artists.
Ken Danby has lived and worked in the countryside near Guelph, (one-hour west of Toronto) since 1967. His fifty acre property includes a magnificent 1856 stone mill beside the river, overlooked by the original miller's stone house, a stable and the artist's former studio, now expanded to accommodate his publishing company, Ken Danby Studios and his management company, Mill Studios Corporation. Together with his wife and favourite model, Gillian, he enjoys the privacy of their scenic surroundings, which often find their way into his paintings. Gillian's quarter horses are well looked after on the property, as is their Great Dane, Summer.
The recipient of many awards and honours, Ken Danby continues to respond to his personal experiences with unique and creative dedication. Whenever he's asked to identify his best work, or his favourite, his answer remains the same - "my next one".
Ken Danby is one of only a few contemporary artists who have created paintings that make the transition from artwork to cultural icon. While the popularity of his work and his contributions to the arts make him a celebrity in Canada, it is his outstanding timeless images that have earned him international recognition as one of the foremost realist artists.
Where some see only an incredible attention to detail, others are aware of the artist's greater accomplishment... the presence, the life and the emotion which emanates from each meticulously composed image. Studying a Ken Danby painting is more than experiencing fine art. It is sharing in the artist's response to his own experience.
Ken Danby's work has been the subject of several popular books, including Ken Danby, published by Clarke Irwin, Danby: Images of Sport published by MacMillan of Canada, and Ken Danby: The New Decade published by Stoddart. He is listed in numerous reference publications such as.Who's Who in Canada, Who's Who in America, Dictionary of International Biography, Who's Who in American Art, Canadian Encyclopedia, and Contemporary Artists.
Many public institutions hold Ken Danby's originals in their collections, including The Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Museum in New York, The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, Oklahoma Art Centre, The Governor General of Canada, Vancouver Art Gallery, University of California Art Gallery, The City of Jerusalem, Israel and the Bradford City Art Gallery in England.
Ken Danby is an elected member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Among the many awards he has received are the Jessie Dow Prize, the 125th Anniversary Commemorative Medal of Canada, and spanning twenty-five years of recognition, both the Queen's Silver and Golden Jubilee Medals. He has recently been invested in both the Order of Ontario, and the Order of Canada, the province's and country's highest and most prestigious honours.