William Ronald

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Image © Copyright Helen Ronald 2024.

William RONALD ( 1926-1998 )

Four Seasons
Oil on canvas, 1959
Signed and dated , lower left and verso.
65 x 33 in.

Kootz Gallery, New York, 1959 – 1973.
Lawrence D. Bernhardt, Ardsley-on-Hudson, N.Y, 1973 – 1976.
William Ronald, Toronto, aquired from the above in trade in 1976 for “Ithica Snuf”.
Private Collection, Vancouver.

William Ronald, Kootz Gallery, New York, October 21 – Nov 7 1959.
William Ronald, Gallery Quan, Toronto, April 1982.

William Ronald opening exhibit new paintings, Kootz Gallery catalogue, October 1959.
Some views of the spacious new quarters of the KOOTZ GALLERY, 1959, illustrated in situ.
Exile a Literary Quarterly” Vol. 2 #1, 1974, illustrated in colour between pg. 96-97.
Ronald: 25 years, catalogue, Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 1975, illustrated in colour p. 9.
Kootz: The History and Legacy of Samuel M. Kootz and the Kootz Gallery, The Fralin Museum of Art, 2017, p. 156..

William Ronald Fonds, Library and Archives Canada, inventory references #R-31, R-110 and #239.


The early 50s were a momentous time for William Ronald. He graduated from the Ontario College of Art, moved to New York to study with abstract expressionist Hans Hoffman, then came back to Toronto. In 1953, he approached Simpson’s department store with a novel sales concept for its famous display windows, Abstracts at Home: which was accepted.

The display featured abstract art hanging in living room settings, offering Torontonians their first real exposure to non-objective painting. Ronald, and a group of six other like-minded painters, exhibited and then, with four additional artists, subsequently formed the Painters Eleven abstract group. It was a watershed moment in Canadian art despite the lack of sales from the display. Not long afterward, Ronald returned to New York hoping to have the vibrancy of that city invigorate his work.

Ronald quickly came to the attention of Samuel Kootz, a New York gallery owner, who subsequently contracted him to paint in late 1956. This support meant that Ronald’s livelihood was secure and that he was free to paint without worrying where his next meal would come from. The arrangement was rare in the art world and enabled the painter to do what he did best.

From this fortunate beginning, the collectibility of his art expanded throughout the US and eventually, Canada.


William Ronald was born in Stratford Ontario. William Ronald graduates from the Ontario College of Art in 1952 then studies with Hans Hoffmann for six weeks in 1952 in New York. He arranges the first Painters Eleven exhibition in America in 1956 at the Riverside Museum in association with the American Abstract Artists (AAA). Ronald has his first American one-man show at the Kootz Gallery in 1957 and for the next seven years was represented along side of some of the most important artists in the world. Disregarding Jock Macdonald’s advice to “Never come back to Canada” Ronald returns to Canada in 1963 and exhibits in Toronto first with the Mirvish Gallery. Bill Ronald was one of Canada’s most colorful and talented artists, one of the few you can call truly international. Bill’s paintings are in almost every important art museum in North America.

For further information on the Painters Eleven, click on the following link: www.painters-eleven.com

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