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William Ronald

(1928 - 1998)
Founder of a group called Painters Eleven in Canada, William Ronald was born in Stratford and raised in Fergus and Brampton. He also did a series of portraits in Abstract Expressionist style of Prime Ministers including Pierre Trudeau. Upon graduation from the Ontario College of Art, where he was a hockey player, William Ronald went directly to New York to study for six months with Abstract Expressionist Hans Hofmann, having won a $1,000.00 scholarship from the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association.

Living in the 'big city' was a heady experience for Ronald, whose residence was on 2nd Avenue in a noisy, Jewish neighborhood "Of street vendors, delicatessens and clothing stores". He took advantage of the cultural offerings and, leaving for Canada, he determined to return to New York.

In Ontario, he became a display artist for a home furnishings store, and involved 10 artists like himself in an abstract expressionist exhibition held February 1954. The group became known as Painters Eleven and included himself plus Alexandra Luke, Harold Town, Oscar Cahen, Kazuo Nakamura, Jack Bush, Hortense Gordon, Walter Yarwood, Ray Mead, Tom Hodgson and Jock Macdonald. Their work was described as "aggressive and challenging".

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