John Leonard, RCA, 1944-

John Leonard is a Canadian contemporary artist
and art teacher who has been in more than 350 exhibitions


John Leonard is a Toronto-area painter who has earned acclaim for landscapes, nudes and a diverse range of subjects.

John C. Leonard was born in England in 1944 but later moved to Canada, where he studied art at Fleming College in Peterborough and the Ontario College of Art and Design.

John Leonard has taught at many of Ontario’s universities and art schools, including OCAD, University of Toronto, York University and others. He is currently a faculty member of Fleming College’s Haliburton School of The Arts. (Read our interview with John Leonard, which is on our blog page)

This RCA member has inspired young artists by teaching about contemporary landscape painting, impressionism, painting from a model, and the theory and technique of the Group of Seven. His classes at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection on the Group of Seven has earned wide acclaim.

Widely Exhibited

John Leonard has been in more than 350 exhibitions, most recently at public galleries throughout Canada, as well as internationally in Spain, France, Portugal, Holland, Brazil and the U.S.

When John Leonard burst on the Canadian art scene in the 1970s, he earned renown for having three exhibits at the same time: the Art Gallery of Ontario, Hart House Art Gallery and at the Albert White Gallery in Toronto. The Globe & Mail profiled John Leonard as a “Young Realist,” noting his art combined abstraction and photo realism, with some pieces showing large blowups of pop icons next to objects such as guns and Volkswagons.

John Leonard’s work is held in over 40 public galleries and corporate collections, including the National Gallery, the Ontario Arts Council, the Ministry of Culture and Recreation, the Art Gallery of Algoma, the Art Gallery of Sarnia, the Art Gallery of Lindsay, the Station Gallery (Whitby), CBS Records – New York and the Canada Development Corp.

Sources: Fleming College Online Faculty Profile & Colin S. MacDonald. A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, volumes 1-8 by Colin S. MacDonald, and volume 9 (online only), by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker. National Gallery of Canada