Ken Danby

Canadian Artist; RCA (1940-2007)

Kenneth (Ken) Edison Danby (6 March 1940 – 23 September 2007) was born on March 6, 1940 in Sault Ste. Marie, and was destined for a career as an artist. As a 12 year old, he was already talking to career advisors about how to enrol in the Ontario College of Art (Now OCADU). In 1958, he realized this dream by enrolling at the school, but became disenfranchised with institutional education and quit two years later. Beginning first as a young artist in Toronto exploring abstract art like many other contemporaries, it was not until a trip to Buffalo, New York in 1962 to visit the Albright-Knox Gallery and take in a solo exhibition of American realist, Andrew Wyeth, that the course of his artistic career would be changed. Paul Duval has noted that, inspired by Wyeth, “the impact made by these paintings convinced Danby that he should forsake abstract painting, which he was increasingly becoming dissatisfied with and return completely to his devotion to realism.”

In 1964 Gallery Moos organized “Danby’s first one-man show, which promptly sold out and set an example that was repeated and surpassed over many years”*. Today, Danby is recognized internationally and is one of Canada’s best known artists. His work can be found in private, corporate and public institutions worldwide, including The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Danby received many awards and accolades, including his election to membership of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1976. He was also awarded with the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal by the Government of Canada, and The Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada. Danby served on many boards, including that of the National Gallery of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts.


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