L.A.C. Panton, RCA, 1894-1954

L.A.C. Panton was among a generation of Canada’s
most significant landscape painters and teachers



Lawrence Arthur Colley Panton was born in England in 1894, moving to Canada in 1911 at age 17.

L.A.C. Panton, worked as a bookkeeper with The Evening Telegram newspaper until he signed up for service in the First World War, serving with the Signal Company. He returned to the newspaper after the war, and he married in 1920.

Around the same time, L.A.C. Panton began taking evening art classes at the Ontario College of Art under C.M. Manley and F.S. Challener. He continued classes at the Central Technical School before joining the printing firm Rous and Mann as a designer.

Art Teacher

In 1924, L.A.C. Panton began a lifelong career as an art teacher, first taking a post at the Central Technical School (one of his students was E. Conyers Barker). Later, L.A.C. Panton taught at the Western Technical School and the Northern Vocational School, before becoming principal of the Ontario College of Art (1951-54, the year of his death).

Over his 30-year artistic career, L.A.C. Panton was known for his realistic and impressionistic landscapes, figure studies, city scenes and coastal scenes, but particularly his landscapes.

Some landscapes fit in well with Canadian landscape painting of the 20th century, with some of his most successful being panoramic in scope and exhibiting luminosity. Other works demonstrate L.A.C. Panton’s fascination with trees and tree trunks, portraying their powerful shapes. In later years, he moved towards a more abstract style in his painting.

Bold Colourist

L.A.C. Panton was known as a bold colourist, using layers and layers of thin glazes, to build up his colour. However, some paintings have been described as too lyrical or too academic or too mystical.

L.A.C. Panton was active in all the leading artistic groups of his day, including the Ontario Society of Artists, Royal Canadian Academy (Associate member 1934 and full member 1943), the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour (1925, charter member), Federation of Canadian Artists, and others.

He was also a member of the Canadian Group of Painters, which had been established by A.Y. Jackson after the Group of Seven dissolved.

Two of L.A.C. Panton’s paintings were selected for the Sampson-Matthews Ltd. silkscreen project, which had been established by A.Y. Jackson during the Second World War. The first, Windswept, came out in June 1943, while Silver Stream appeared starting in September 1944.

His works are represented in major public collections across the country, including the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario and Winnipeg Art Gallery, as well as in corporate and private collections.

After his death, a memorial exhibition of L.A.C. Panton’s works was mounted by the Ontario Society of Artists at the Art Gallery of Toronto (1955). A retrospective show was also held at Hart House, University of Toronto.

Source:  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, Artists in Canada database.