Oshawa Public Libraries' Art Collection
Artist Biographies
The Oshawa Public Libraries has a long and ongoing relationship with the city's and region's art history.

In 1967, the McLaughlin branch acquired 118 paintings that the public could “rent”. In 8 months, there had been 156 rentals, and demand was overwhelming.

In December 1975, the Trustees of the Oshawa Public Library presented a collection of eighteen paintings of Historical sites in the Oshawa Area. The paintings were commissioned by the Board as the Library’s contribution to the preservation of Local History.

And in the present day, the Oshawa Public Libraries maintain these online exhibitions, as well as pieces of interest and appeal to the public located at the Oshawa Public Libraries themselves. We invite you to learn more about Oshawa's artists and their works below.

Kiugak (Kiawak) Ashoona (1933 – 2014)

Kiugak grew up on south Baffin Island and was the fourth son of the distinguished Inuit tribe leader, Ashoona. Kiugak was part of the first group of notable artists from Northern Canada who received national and international recognition. Kiugak’s mother and several of his siblings were also well respected Inuit artists. Kiugak began carving in the late 1940s and enjoyed a long artistic career. His carvings are greatly detailed and often depict traditional values and culture from old Inuit stories and legends. Kiugak also spent time during his career creating large collections of drawings. In 1997, Kiugak received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award. He was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2000, and elected to the Royal Canadian Academy in 2003.

Spirit Wrestler Gallery biography of Ashoona

McMichael Canadian Art Collection memorial for Ashoona

McMichael Canadian Art Collection biography of Ashoona

Aba Bayefsky (1923 – 2001)

Born in Toronto, Bayefsky studied at the Central Technical School from 1937 to 1942. In October, 1942 Bayefsky enlisted in the RCAF and was commissioned as an Official War Artist in 1944. During his time in Germany, Bayefsky multiple war torn cities, as well as the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, capturing the destruction and pain he witnessed in his paintings. Bayefsky created many of his works in watercolour and oils, often depicting life in markets, and portraits of friends. He also created several commissioned large scale murals. Bayefksy mounted over 42 exhibitions of his work, and many of his paintings can be found in both private and public collections around the world. In 1979 Bayefsky was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

The Canadian Encyclopedia entry for Bayefsky

Canadian War Museum profile of Bayefsky

James Boyd (1928 – 2002)

Boyd was an artist, printmaker and art professor who studied at the New York Art Student League and the National Academy of Design. Boyd used several art mediums such as ink and metal, leading to the unique printmaking style for which Boyd is best known. He also produced art under the name James Henderson Boyd.

Biographical Note Created by Friends of Boyd

Frederick Henry Brigden (1871 – 1956)

Born in London, England, Brigden and his parents immigrated to Toronto when Brigden was an infant. By age 7 he began to exhibit artistic skills that were encouraged by his father. At 12 years of age, Brigden began studying at the Toronto Arts’ Student League under G.A. Reid and William Cruikshank. At 15, he began working at his father’s engraving firm, creating illustrations and wood engravings. By 1939 Brigden was a member of the Ontario Society of Artists, exhibiting at the Royal Canadian Academy. Brigden secured a Winnipeg location for a new branch of the family firm, resulting in him splitting his time between Winnipeg and Toronto. While helping to manage the family business, Brigden continued to paint, engrave, write, and give talks to aspiring artists until his death in 1956 while on a sketching trip in Bolton, Ontario.

C.W. Jefferys Gallery biography of Brigden

Roberts Gallery biography of Brigden

Wallace Brighton (1940 – 2015)

Born in Winnipeg, Brighton displayed talent for drawing as a young child. His family settled in Ottawa, where Brighton completed high school and graduated from Ottawa’s Teachers College. At the age of 20, Brighton moved to Toronto and attended the Ontario Collage of Art (OCA). Brighton moved to Oshawa with his family and was an art teacher at O’Neill CVI. In this position Brighton combined his teaching and artistic talents, eventually becoming the Head of Art at O’Neill. Brighton’s work has been featured in multiple art shows, including works displayed in Whitby’s Station Gallery’s permanent collection. Amongst his many landscape paintings, Brighton is perhaps best known for his work entitled “Flying Figure Pines.”

Obituary profiling Brighton’s legacy

A. (Alexander) Scott Carter (1881 – 1968)

Born in England, Carter trained at the Bournemouth School of Art serving as apprentice to local architect J.S.C. McEwan-Brown from 1899 to 1902. Carter studied architecture and art at the Royal Academy School from 1905 to 1908, immigrating to Toronto in 1912. Known largely for his heraldry work, he became an acclaimed artist in Canada, England and the United States. Over the next 2 decades Carter created works for many historic patrons, including Lady Eaton, the Hon. Vincent Massey, and Sir Joseph Flavelle. He created the armorial seal for the Toronto-Dominion Bank, a seal for the Bank of Nova Scotia, the design for the Arms of the Board of Education of Toronto and the War Memorial at Upper Canada College. Today, his works reside in the private collection of Queen Elizabeth II, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the National Gallery of Canada. Carter became an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1922 and was promoted to Senior Academician in 1951. He became a member of the Royal Architectural Institution of Canada in 1936. A large collection of Carter’s drawings, notes and sketches from over 80 projects, reside at the Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto.

Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada 1800 – 1950 entry for Carter

The Royal Heraldry Society of Canada’s biography of Carter

Alfred Joseph Casson (1898 – 1992)

Alfred Joseph (A.J.) Casson, born in Toronto in 1898, is best known for being the youngest member of the Group of Seven. After studying art in Hamilton and Toronto from 1913-1917, Casson was employed at a Toronto commercial art firm as an apprentice to Franklin Carmichael. Carmichael, an original member of the Group of Seven, introduced Casson to the other members of the Group and was a great artistic influence on Casson. Both Casson and Carmichael are credited with the revival of watercolour painting in art communities via their creation of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour. In 1926, Casson was invited to join the Group, replacing Franz Johnston. The Group had moved from exclusively painting landscapes to include urban landscapes and this is where Casson flourished, depicting villages and small towns in his work.

Casson biography in Canadian Encyclopedia

Casson biography in Encyclopaedia Britannica

Cavouk (1945 - )

Onnig Cavoukian, professionally known as Cavouk, was born in Cairo, to Armenian parents. He emigrated with his family to Canada in 1958. Cavouk’s family is full of famous names, including his brother, the children’s entertainer Raffi, and his sister, Ann Cavoukian, former Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. Cavouk is perhaps Canada’s best known portrait photographer, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, Ohanness and Artin Cavoukian, who were also portrait photographers. Cavouk has photographed the likes of Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen Mother, and Pierre and Margaret Trudeau. Cavouk’s portraits were used to create three Canadian stamps, including his portrait of Colonel R.S. McLaughlin.

Wikipedia Entry for Cavouk

University of Calgary Libraries, Special Collections, Discussion of Portrait Collection

Bob Chambers (1905 - 1996)

Robert (Bob) Chambers was a well-known illustrator and political cartoonist from Nova Scotia. Chambers began drawing as a child, and in 1924 he moved to New York City where he studied at Grand Central School of Art and worked as an illustrator. Chambers returned to Nova Scotia in 1932 and was hired as an editorial cartoonist for the Halifax Chronicle. After a tumultuous few years, which saw Chambers hired and fired from several publications, he joined the Halifax Herald in 1937. Chambers remained at the Herald until his retirement in 1976. Chambers won National Newspaper Awards 1953 and in 1966. Chambers became a Member of the Order of Canada in 1976, and was inducted into the Canadian News Hall of Fame in 1977.

Wikipedia Entry for Chambers

Profile of Chambers in Nova Scotia Archives

Alan Caswell Collier (1911 – 1990)

Born in Toronto, Collier began to display an interest in art at 12 years of age. He studied at the Ontario College of Art from 1929 – 1933, learning from experienced artists J.E.H. Macdonald and Franklin Carmichael. Collier studied at the Art Students’ League in New York in 1937, paying for his education by working in mines during the summer months. Collier briefly worked in New York as an advertising artist but relocated to Toronto in 1942 after marrying a Canadian. Collier joined the Canadian Army in 1943, returning from overseas in 1946. After resuming his work as an advertising artist, Collier began to focus more on his paintings. In 1951, Collier created a series of paintings depicting underground mining. He was elected to the Ontario Society of Artists in 1952, and in 1955 Collier began teaching at the Ontario College of Art. Collier began painting full-time in 1967and a retrospective exhibition of his work was held in the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in 1971, where many of his works still reside.

Roberts Gallery biography of Collier

Heffel Auction House biography of Collier

Adrian Dingle (1911 – 1974)

Dingle was born in north Wales and immigrated to Canada when he was 3 years old. His family initially settled in Toronto, but later moved to Mississauga. Dingle began his art career in 1931, attending the Ontario College of Art, and studied under artist J.W. Beatty. Dingle moved to England and worked as an illustrator from 1935-1937. During this time Dingle also studied at the Goldsmith’s College of Art, creating portraits that were exhibited at the London Portrait Society. Dingle returned to Canada and exhibited annually with the Ontario Society of Artists. When the comic book industry began to boom in Canada, Dingle co-founded a publishing company, Hillborough Studio, creating the comic book series “Nelvana of the Northern Lights.” This series starred, Nelvana, Canada’s first superhero comic character. In the following years, Dingle created illustrations for reputable publications, teaching at the Doon School of Fine Arts in Kitchener and at the Etobicoke Community Art School. Dingle is best known for his oil paintings of landscapes, seascapes and portraits.

Roberts Gallery biography of Dingle

Joe Shuster Awards, Winner Profile: Adrian Dingle

Jane Dixon

Jane Dixon is a Canadian artist who works in several media, such as fibre, collage and paint. She specializes in wall hangings inspired by nature and the countryside around her summer home in Burnt River, Ontario. Dixon’s works of art are featured in many Ontario art gallery collections including the Robert McLaughlin Gallery.

Brief Biography in Heritage Oshawa Memo

John Donabie

John Donabie is an award winning, Canadian radio personality. Oshawa-born Donabie began his radio career in 1965, at CKLB in Oshawa. Donabie’s passion for music and his engaging personality made him a local favourite. After spending 18 months at CKLB, Donabie moved to Toronto and began working at CHUM-FM. While at CHUM Donabie crafted his unforgettable interviewing style, which led him to meet many famous musicians such as John Lennon, B.B. King, Bob Dylan and Ella Fitzgerald. In 1977, Donabie helped create Q107 and due to his respected role in radio, the station became an instant favourite. Donabie also worked at country station, CISS-FM, Jazz FM 91 and enjoyed a 15 year stint at CFRB Talk Radio. Donabie also lent his talent to Canadian television broadcasting, and in 2013 Donabie was inducted into the Canadian Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame.

Canadian Music Week profile of Donabie

Article profiling Donabie’s induction into Broadcasting Hall of Fame

Eugenie Fernandes (1943 - )

Born in New York State, Eugenie Fernandes attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and began her career illustrating greeting cards. Initially, Fernandes showed her portfolio of illustrations to publishers. Before long she began to submit stories with her illustrations. This led to the publication in 1981 of Fenandes’ first book, Jenny’s Surprise Summer. To date, Fernandes has written over 20 books and illustrated over 100. Her paintings from Earth Magic and One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference are at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art.

Profile in Famous Canadian Women

Interview with Fernandes on Paper Tiger

Kim Fernandes (1969 - )

Kim Fernandes is a Canadian illustrator of children’s picture books. Fernandes attended Ontario College of Art in Toronto from 1989 to 1992. Fenandes is the daughter of illustrator Eugenie Fernandes, and the mother-daughter duo have collaborated on several publications. Fernandes illustrations are three dimensional images, created out of a modelling compound called fimo.

Profile in Famous Canadian Women

Interview on Kids Can Press

Susan Gardos (1942 – 2011)

Susan Gardos is a Canadian illustrator. Gardos enjoyed a long and successful career as a commercial artist. Her work was published for book covers, advertising and packaging. Much of Gardos’ work depicted serene images of animals, children and nature, appealing to young and old.

Obituary for Gardos

Donna Griffin-Smith

Canadian painter Donna Griffin-Smith, studied art history and design at Trent University and has a Visual Arts Specialist certificate in art education. Griffin-Smith has been displaying her work at galleries and art festivals since 1981. Griffin-Smith works mostly in water colour and gains her inspiration from the nature she encounters while enjoying her favourite pastimes of hiking and camping.

Two Horse Gallery profile of Griffin-Smith

Swallowdale Studio profile of Griffin-Smith

Brad Haley

Brad is a Canadian watercolour artist recognized for his detailed work in country landscapes, florals and sports art. Brad has published many limited editions and original works that are in public and private collections throughout Canada, the USA and England. He has also taught students in private art classes and through the local school board. Brad and his wife Karen currently reside in Oshawa and are looking forward to retiring in the Kawartha Lakes.

R. Ernest Jukes

R. Ernest Jukes is a painter, writer, poet and photographer. He has won awards for his art and design in Canada, the USA and Mexico. His writings have been published in some of the premier publications in North America, including four books. His photography is on display at the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography.

Profile of Jukes on Matawatchan Community Page

Basic artist information on Canadian Heritage Information Network

Anthony Keating

Canadian painter Anthony Keating is best known for his majestic paintings of birds, and enjoys creating works that combine abstract and realism. Keating is greatly inspired by the work of J. Fenwick Lansdowne. Keating had minimal art training, taking a 10 week correspondence art course in the late 1970s and training with artist Michael Dumas at the Buckhorn School of Fine Art. Most of Keating’s skill comes from practise and inspiration from nature and other artists.

Historical paper article profiling Keating

John Lander (1951-1992)

Oshawa born John Lander is best known for his paintings depicting figures, landscapes and still life, as well as his work in serigraphs and drawings. Lander utilized several different medias during his career including, gouache, screen-printing, serigraphy, silkscreen, graphite, and watercolour.

Artist profile on askART

Alexandra Luke (1901 – 1967)

Born in Montreal, Luke and her family settled in Oshawa in 1914. Luke's first husband died suddenly, only four months into their marriage. Luke met and married Clarence McLaughlin, the grandson of R.S. McLaughlin in 1928. While Luke was always interested in art, she did not begin formal training until 1928. Eventually Luke was drawn to abstract works and began to experiment with abstract in 1945. Luke was a founding member of the Painters Eleven group (1953 – 1960), Ontario's first abstract painting group.

Detailed Bio of Luke in the Canadian Women Artists History Initiative

Selection of Luke's Auctioned Works

Doris McCarthy (1910 – 2010)

Calgary-born McCarthy attended the Ontario College of Art in 1926, mentored and taught by several Group of Seven members. She graduated in 1930 and began teaching at Toronto’s Central Technical School, holding a position there until her retirement in 1972. While McCarthy resided and worked mostly in Scarborough, ON, she traveled extensively in Canada and Europe. In 1961 she travelled around the world, painting landscapes of the countries she visited. McCarthy is best known for her landscapes and her “Iceberg Fantasies” series, depicting icebergs in the Arctic. McCarthy authored several autobiographies, is recipient of the Order of Ontario and Order of Canada, and received numerous honorary degrees.

Detailed biography from Mountain Galleries

Article from CBC News profiling McCarthy after her passing at the age of 100

Isabel McLaughlin (1903 – 2002)

Born in Oshawa, Isabel McLaughlin was the third daughter of R.S. McLaughlin. McLaughlin was highly educated, including studying abroad in Paris. McLaughlin was an early modernist artist, her work incorporated precise use of design, bright colours, and an awareness and use of space. McLaughlin founded the Canadian Group of Painters in 1933 and was awarded the Order of Canada and Order of Ontario.

Detailed Bio of McLaughlin in the Canadian Women Artists History Initiative

McLaughlin's Work at the National Gallery of Canada

William Michaud (1919 – 2012)

Michaud was born in the Georgian Bay area and began painting early in his childhood. Michaud was a self-taught artist, completing extensive restorative work to numerous paintings, notably a collection of paintings donated by R.S. McLaughlin to O’Neill Collegiate, and restoration work for St. Michael’s Cathedral in Oshawa. In his own work, Michaud frequently painted landscapes in both oil and watercolours, inspired by Georgian Bay, Lake Superior and Alaska. Michaud lived in Oshawa and taught evening classes at O’Neill Collegiate, Bowmanville High School and the Orono Armouries.

Canadian Heritage Information Network profile of Michaud

Charles Moffat (1979 – )

Born in Wingham, Ontario and raised by farming parents, Charles began experimenting with painting and drawing as a child. Moffat attended York University, studying painting, sculpting, photography, mural painting and lithography. In 2003 he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours. Moffat focuses on having his work published in mass media outlets and online, rather than in art galleries. His work is quite stylized with controversial themes such as gothic and Canadian culture, religion, feminism, sexuality, and health issues. Moffat also experiments with wood and metal sculptures and is an author of both fiction and non-fiction works.

Artist's official website

Artist biography in Canadian Daily

Robin Muller (1953 - )

Robin Muller is an internationally acclaimed, award winning author and illustrator. His art has been featured in many exhibitions and galleries, many of which are prized in several collections. His writings have been translated into numerous languages, and adapted for stage and television. Muller draws his inspiration from world folklore and myth. In 1989, Muller won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Illustration for his work The Magic Paintbrush.

Article about Muller on Open Book Toronto

Profile of Muller on Lakefield Literary Festival

Joan Murray (1943 –)

Murray was born in New York City and moved to Canada in 1959 to marry Canadian W. Ross Murray. She completed a B.A. in art history from the University of Toronto in 1965, and an M.A. from Columbia University in 1966. Murray had aspirations to complete a doctorate degree, but in 1968 she was hired at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and eventually was promoted to Curator of Canadian Art. Murray was the Director of The Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa from 1974 to 1999. In 2002, Murray assisted the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario in the curation of a retrospective exhibit of Tom Thomson’s work. As well as being an artist, Murray has authored several books, art catalogues, and articles. Murray received the Order of Ontario in 2003.

Murray’s professional website

Douglas & McIntyre Publishing’s biography of Murray

Marjorie Pigott (1904 – 1990)

Born in Japan, Pigott’s father was English and her mother was of Japanese nobility. Pigott and her four sisters were taught by an English governess, and early on, Pigott showed a great interest in her mother’s love for Japanese art. Noting this passion for art, Pigott’s mother sent her to Nanga School, where she learned from master artists for twelve years. Upon completion of the program, Pigott received her Seal Diploma and a Master Diploma, which designated her as a Nanga Master. With World War II on the horizon, Pigott and her sisters left Japan and moved to Canada in 1940. Settling in Toronto, Pigott experimented with her art, ultimately creating the painting style for which she is known: a technique of semiabstract wet-into-wet water colour, utilizing the Nanga School’s disciplined brush strokes. Pigott continued to use the Nanga School technique to capture Canadian landscapes.

Roberts Gallery biography

Detailed biography in the Canadian Women Artists History Initiative

Peter Van Gils (1923 – )

Born in the Netherlands, Van Gils trained in drawing and composition. He attended a textile college and later worked as textile designer. Van Gils came to Canada in 1957 and began to paint the Canadian landscape. He studied with Jack Pollock and experimented with monoprinting. In the late 1980's, Van Gils began to work with transparent water colours.

Brief biography of Van Gils publish in Whitby Free Press (1988)

Profile in Canadian Heritage Information Network

J. Carlos de Vilallonga (1927 – )

Born in Spain in 1927, de Vilallonga studied at Sant Jordi School of Fine Arts in Barcelona. He also studied art in Madrid, Paris and Rome. In 1955, de Vilallonga moved to Montreal and began painting watercolours of Montreal houses. In 1958, de Vilallonga signed a contract with the owner of the prestigious Dominion Gallery in Montreal, displaying his work for the next thirty years. de Vilallonga is a painter (watercolour, oil and acrylic), muralist, print maker and sculptor. His artistic styles are symbolist, and representational, but he is most famously associated with surrealism art in Canada. While de Vilallonga currently lives and works in Spain, he continues to have his work displayed in exhibits in Quebec and worldwide.

Biography from art collector/expert James Rottman Fine Art website

Detailed biography on AskArt database

Ronald York Wilson (1907 – 1984)

A Toronto artist, Wilson received formal art training at Central Technical School in Toronto. Following this, he worked as a commercial artist, taking classes at the Ontario College of Art. Wilson briefly worked in Detroit, returning to Canada in 1930, after losing his job during the Depression. Wilson began to receive recognition for his paintings with theatrical and burlesque themes, which were often satirical. Wilson started painting full-time in 1950 and became best known for the large scale, commissioned murals he created at McGill University’s library, the Imperial Oil building, and the O’Keefe Centre. He had art studios in Toronto, New York and Paris. Wilson can be considered a “jack of all trades” in the arts through his use of many media, including watercolour, oil, charcoal, gouache, lithography, collages, and tapestries.

The Canadian Encyclopedia entry for Wilson

Roberts Gallery biography of Wilson

William Winter (1909 – 1996)

A Winnipeg native, Winter studied at the Winnipeg School of Art and worked as a commercial artist from 1930-1935. In 1937, Winter moved to Toronto and created an advertising firm with two other partners. During this time, Winter painted illustrated covers for the New World publication. In 1995, Winter left commercial art to pursue work as an independent artist. By 1960, Winter had finished several commissioned murals, including murals for the McLaughlin Branch of the Oshawa Public Libraries and for The Canadian Pacific Railway. Described as nostalgic, Winter’s art captures people busy at everyday tasks, children at play, and the downtown life of Toronto in the 1940’s and 50’s. In the mid 1960’s, Winter traveled and painted in Italy, Spain, Mexico and Greece.

Roberts Gallery biography

Galerie Alan Klinkhoff biography

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