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Greg Curnoe

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Greg Curnoe
Self Portrait #4 (1992). watercolour, stamp pad ink, blue print pencil, pencil on paper. 12 x 9 in.
Gregory Richard Curnoe

(1936-11-19)19 November 1936
Died14 November 1992(1992-11-14) (aged 55)
EducationBeal Technical School, Doon School of Art, Ontario College of Art
Known forPainter
MovementLondon Regionalism

Greg Curnoe (19 November 1936 – 14 November 1992)[1] was a Canadian painter known for his role in the Canadian art movement labeled London Regionalism,[2] [3][4] which, beginning in the 1960s, made London, Ontario, an important centre for artistic production in Canada. While his oeuvre chronicled his daily experience in a variety of media, it was grounded in twentieth-century art movements, especially Dada, with its emphasis on nihilism and anarchism, Canadian politics, and popular culture. He is remembered for brightly coloured works that often incorporate text to support his strong Canadian patriotism, sometimes expressed as anti-Americanism, as well as his activism in support of Canadian artists.[1]

Early life[edit]

Gregory Richard Curnoe was born on 19 November 1936, at Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario. He grew up with his parents, Nellie Olive (née Porter) and Gordon Charles Curnoe; his brother, Glen (born 1939); and his sister, Lynda (born 1943), in a house built for the family by his grandfather. For most of his life, Curnoe lived within five kilometres of this home in Southwestern Ontario, a peninsula surrounded by water and the United States.[1] Curnoe attended H. B. Beal Secondary School (1954–56) and the Doon School of Art (1956) before attending the Ontario College of Art (1957–60), where he failed his final year.


Curnoe Property, Weston Street, London, Ontario

Returning to London, Ontario, Curnoe began to work in the studio. He found meaning in popular culture and his own cultural roots that addressed the disillusion he felt with established culture after leaving art school.[5] He founded Region magazine in 1961 and Region Gallery in 1962. He co-founded the Canadian noise band the Nihilist Spasm Band in 1965.

In 1968, Jack Chambers with the aid of Kim Ondaatje, Tony Urquhart, Curnoe and John Boyle, founded Canadian Artists' Representation to serve as a union for artists in Canada.[6][7] Curnoe co-founded the Forest City Gallery, an artist-run centre, in 1973.[8] He represented Canada at the Venice Biennale in 1976 and was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1981, which subsequently toured across Canada.[9]


[8] While on a club ride with the London Centennial Wheelers, Curnoe was killed by a distracted driver in a pickup truck that plowed into the group of 12 cyclists on Highway 2, just outside Delaware, Ontario. He was killed and six others were seriously injured and taken to hospital. The driver was charged with four-counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm, and one-count of dangerous driving causing death.[10] The driver was eventually acquitted of all charges on 13 January 1994.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Rodger, Judith (2016). Greg Curnoe: Life & Work. Toronto: Art Canada Institute. ISBN 978-1-4871-0102-2. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Artist riding with fellow cyclists, killed instantly in crash, OPP says". Toronto Star, A8. 1992-11-16
  3. ^ Bindi, Irene. "The Films of Jack Chambers" (PDF). The Winnipeg Film Group. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
  4. ^ AGO Staff (2001). "Greg Curnoe and the London Scene". Exhibitions. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  5. ^ Reid, Dennis (1973). A Concise History of Canadian Painting. Toronto: Oxford University Press. pp. 303–305. ISBN 0-19-540206-5.
  6. ^ Poole, Nancy Geddes. "The Art of London: 1830-1980". ir.lib.uwo.ca. McIntosh Gallery, London, Ontario. p. 210. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  7. ^ "Painter Greg Curnoe champions Canadian artists". CBC Digital Archives. 10 March 1975. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  8. ^ a b Whyte, Murray (20 February 2010). "Greg Curnoe shrine cycles through coffee shop". The Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 1 January 2014. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  9. ^ "Biography". Thielsen Gallery. Archived from the original on 20 October 2015. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
  10. ^ Paperella, Nick (26 November 1992). "Man charged in the death of artist Greg Curnoe" (Video). CFPL-TV. London, Ontario. Archived from the original on 28 May 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  11. ^ Special to the Star (14 January 1994). "Man acquitted of fatal crash that killed well-known artist". The Toronto Star. p. A8.

Further reading[edit]

Rodger, Judith. Greg Curnoe: Life & Work. Toronto: Art Canada Institute, 2016. ISBN 978-1-4871-0102-2

External links[edit]