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Rare Showcase of Early 1960s Abstracts

at the Christopher Cutts Gallery, October 19 to November 16, 2019

Some of the boldest, most important examples of Canadian abstract art are the focus of a new show, HAROLD TOWN: SIXTIES STYLE ICON, at Toronto’sChristopher Cutts Gallery.

The controversial Toronto painter worked in a variety of styles from the 1950s through to his death in 1990. This show is the first exhibition of major works from Town’s most notable period in the early 1960s. The collection features a dozen large-format abstracts, giving the public a unique opportunity to view these significant works – rarely seen over the past 60 years.

“Harold Town was the most celebrated Canadian artist of his time,” says long-time gallerist Christopher Cutts. “He was everywhere in the media, praising his own genius and sparring with his critics. Harold had a big, brash personality, and he often rubbed people the wrong way. But now that some years have passed, it’s possible to see his work just for its sheer brilliance.”

In addition to the gallery show, there’s a new website –– describing him as “The Original Bad Boy of Canadian Art.”

Town was a central figure in Painters Eleven, the Toronto collective that helped introduce abstract art to Canada in the 1950s. He was shown at the Venice Biennale in 1956 and 1964. During the 1960s, his works were acquired by the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Museum of Modern Art in São Paulo. Through the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, Town earned record prices for a living Canadian artist.

As Cutts explains, “Town proved that Canada could produce innovative art that is relevant on the international stage. He brought a new confidence and sophistication to the Canadian art scene.”

“He was always ahead of his time,” says his daughter, Shelley Town, owner of the Toronto card and design shop TOWN. “He really embodied the style of the 1960s, and he had some surprisingly progressive attitudes about culture, politics and the environment. In the 1970s and ’80s, he donated works to help fundraise for June Callwood and David Crombie, as well as Greenpeace and the Ontario Prison Arts Foundation. He even arranged for a large portion of his farm in Peterborough to be turned into the Harold Town Conservation Area.”

“Harold Town was a hugely talented and important artist,” says Cutts.“But there’s a kind of Canadian cultural amnesia that takes over. This exhibition is a chance to introduce Harold Town to a new generation.”

The show opens Saturday, October 19, from 2 to 6 pm, at the Christopher Cutts Gallery, 21 Morrow Avenue (near Dundas and Roncesvalles) in Toronto. For more details and media enquiries, please contact 416-532-5566 or

Christopher Cutts Gallery

21 Morrow Avenue
Toronto, ON, M6R 2H9

Tel: 416-532-5566
Fax: 416-532-7272

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

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