John Howard Gould

Canadian Artist; CSGA OSA RCA (1929-2010)

John Howard Gould was born in Toronto on August 14th, 1929. Gould attended the Ontario College of Art from 1948 to 1952. Gould was the rare artist that committed his entire artistic career to the art of drawing. His early style was to be directly impacted by instructors such as Jack Nichols, and the viewing of mid-century abstract paintings at Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, NY, and in particular the work of Willem de Kooning. He took part in his first group exhibition at Greenwich (Isaacs) Gallery in Toronto and, in 1960, won the Elizabeth T. Greenshield’s Fellowship for figurative painting. During the early 1960’s he would participate in large exhibitions at University of Toronto’s Hart House and a group exhibition at the Art Gallery of Toronto (now the Art Gallery of Ontario) in 1965. That same year, he began exhibiting at Roberts Gallery in Toronto. Drawings displayed at Roberts Gallery produced on a 1969 trip to Japan were viewed by famed mime Marcel Marceau, resulting in Marceau’s commissioning Gould to draw him during his performances in New York in the spring of 1970.

John Gould was part of the 1960s Toronto scene that saw abstraction vying with an evolving figurative art. Either it was Jack Bush’s Toronto or it was Harold Town’s Toronto and Gould was part of the latter with a fresh, loose, even sexy, drawing style that epitomized the improvisational spirit of the post-beat era. Around 1970 Gould and his wife Ingi moved to Waubaushene, Ontario, where he began to undertake the most complex and ambitious drawings of his career. The “Ancestor Series”, large-scale drawings made up of autobiographical elements, dream imagery and references from film history and literature, were to be some of the most expressive and technically masterful work he was to produce. After a stroke in 1996 Gould embarked on the next great period of his artistic life and continued to exhibit his artwork.

In 2007 John had a massive stroke at home, one that did end his ability to make art. He was eventually moved to a nursing home. He passed away in Barrie, Ontario in January of 2010.

The record price for this artist at auction is $4,720.00 for Portia, 1984, mixed media on board, 39 x 23ins (97.5 x 57.5cm), sold at Waddingtons in 2010. 


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