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Old 09-24-2007, 05:09 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2000
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Default artist Ken Danby has died-he painted portrait of Lightfoot
artist site has image of study of Lightfoot portrait:
and finished work with notations:

A huge artistic loss and also for the environmental causes he stood for. An avid canoeist, he died far too young but was enjoying life and nature in beautiful North Ontario. | News | Painter Ken Danby dies at 67
Painter Ken Danby dies at 67

Sep 24, 2007 04:31 PM
Lee-Anne Goodman
Ken Danby, recognized as one of the world’s foremost realist artists and best-known in Canada for his iconic hockey painting, At The Crease, has died at the age of 67 while canoeing in Algonquin Park.
Born in Sault Ste. Marie, Danby’s vast portfolio includes everything from portraits of famous Canadians to athletes in mid-play and landscape paintings so crystalline that at first glance they resemble photographs.

“He’s been called a national icon and that’s basically what he was,” Ken McGee, manager of the Danby Studio in Guelph, said today.

The prolific artist was said to have known from a young age that he wanted to paint, and enrolled in the Ontario College of Art in 1958.

Danby’s first one-man show in 1964 sold out, an occurrence that would become commonplace as his work proved popular with private, corporate and museum collectors.

When asked to identify his favourite work, the prolific Danby frequently replied: “My next one.”

His 1972 painting of a masked hockey goalie hunched in the crease is considered by many to be a Canadian national symbol and is sometimes mistakenly thought to be a portrait of legendary netminder Ken Dryden.

Lacing Up, another hockey painting of someone tying his skates in a locker room, is almost equally iconic.

On his website, Danby recalled an encounter about At The Crease.

“One day, a woman complimented me on my painting At the Crease, which she referred to as ‘that painting you did of the goalie, Ken Dryden,”’ he recalled.

“She said that she had long had a print of it in her home and really enjoyed it. I thanked her, but also explained that, ‘It isn’t an image of Ken Dryden.’

“Looking puzzled, she replied, ‘Yes it is.’ I responded, ’No it isn’t.’ After a long pause, she loudly exclaimed, ’Yes it is!’ I quickly apologized, with the sudden realization that she was right. It’s really whomever one wants it to be.”

The goalie painting is Danby’s most successful but there’s a lot more to his portfolio, McGee said.

“It’s a worldwide image now. Over the years we have sold literally hundreds of thousands of those images — anybody who knows hockey knows that image and therefore knows Ken Danby,” he said.

“But his reputation seemed to be, from the public point of view, that of a sports artist and he was certainly much, much, much more than that. His works ranged from sports images and panoramic landscapes to huge oils and figurative works and just some stunning works. Particularly in the last few years, his work has expanded both in size and imagery.”

In the 1980s, Danby prepared a series of watercolours on the Americas Cup and the Canadian athletes at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo.

He also served on the governing board of the Canada Council and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery of Canada.

McGee said that Danby, who continued to paint avidly, was on the lookout for new inspiration while canoeing with his wife, Gillian, in Ontario’s pristine Algonquin Park on Sunday.

“He died gathering information for more paintings,” said McGee, who remembered his friend as “amenable, friendly, approachable, kind and generous.”

Danby was also touched by admirers of his work.

“When my painting, Acapulco, was first exhibited, I happened to be in the gallery one day and observed a gentleman standing in front of it for the longest time, seemingly lost in thought,” he once recalled.

“Suddenly and quite unconsciously, I’m sure, he concluded his absorption by rising up on tip-toes, as if by doing so he just might be able to see behind the diving board. What a compliment!”

Danby was a big supporter of the arts, and frequently railed against the lack of arts education in the public school system.

“The arts are just as important as math and science in education, and just as important as any other endeavour in our lives,” he said.

“Art is a necessity. Art is an absolutely essential part of our enlightenment process. We cannot, as a species, as a civilized society, regard ourselves as being enlightened without the arts.”

In 1975, Danby was elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. He was also a recipient of the Jessie Dow Prize, the 125th Anniversary Commemorative Medal of Canada, the City of Sault Ste. Marie’s Award of Merit and both the Queen’s Silver and Golden Jubilee Medals.

In 2001, he was vested in both the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada.

Ontario provincial police say Danby collapsed while canoeing on North Tea Lake. He was transported by air ambulance to North Bay General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

He leaves his wife and three sons.
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