William Winter, RCA, 1909-1996

Cherry Beach | William Winter

Cherry Beach | William Winter

Oil on Panel
Size: 12" x 16"
Price: SOLD

Details: Oil on Artist Panel. Signed lower right.
William Winter artist label on verso.
Framed, measures 18 X 23 inches
Provenance: Private Collection, Newfoundland; Roberts Gallery

Additional Information and Photos Available Upon Request

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William Winter is best remembered for his
nostalgic-looking paintings of children


William Arthur Winter was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1909.

He first studied art at the Winnipeg School of Art in the 1920s under Group of Seven members Frank (Franz) Johnston and Lionel LeMoine Fitzgerald. After graduating in 1929, he worked at a Winnipeg commercial art firm.

For most of his working and artistic career, William Winter lived in Toronto, moving there in 1937 and staying until 1994, when he was in his 80s.

Commerical Artist

At first, William Winter, like many Canadian artists early in their careers, combined his interest in commercial art and fine art, earning a living while building his reputation. His work was featured on the cover and inside the pages of Maclean’s magazine, as well as advertising posters.

In 1942, William Winter established an advertising firm with Lesley Wookey and artist Jack Bush. He would continue commercial art until 1955, when he devoted all his time to being a Canadian artist.

William Winter became a member of the Ontario Society of Artists in 1938, and in the 1940s became active in the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour and the Canadian Group of Painters.

Royal Canadian Academy

He had his first solo show at Eaton’s Gallery in Toronto in the late 1940s, and participated in group shows with the Canadian Group of Painters and Royal Canadian Academy, which he joined in 1953.

William Winter became best known for his paintings of children, which he often painted playing or engaged in everyday activities in an urban setting. Scenes of children playing baseball or hockey, riding bicycles, skating, skipping, playing with pets, going to the beach and reading are common. He also painted child ballet dancers or simple portraits of children, focusing on their faces.

He portrayed his subjects in a social realist, yet romantic and nostalgic style, using a palette of bright colours and skin tones. He painted in oil, acrylic, and watercolour, and drew with pencil and coloured chalk.

“I paint with a great deal of nostalgia,” William Winter later told The Globe and Mail. “I paint my own boyhood.”

By the 1960s. William Winter was sharing his love of art with others, teaching at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto.

William Winter moved to England in 1993, where he died two years later.

William Winter’s works are held in numerous public collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Gallery of Hamilton, and Vancouver Art Gallery. His works are also held widely in corporate and private collections.

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.