Ken Danby: Artist

Ken Danby

Ken Danby

Ken Danby, (is) recognized as one of the world’s foremost realist artists and best-known in Canada for his iconic hockey painting, At The Crease.

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 aspired to be — and in many ways achieved — the status of Canada’s storyteller,” Matthew Teitelbaum, director of the Art Gallery of Ontario, said in an interview today.

“He wanted to be an artist who painted Canada in its heroic moments and in its everyday moments . . . he wanted to tell people through his art that you could paint realistically and capture great emotion and generate great feeling, and he did.”

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.

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.

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.

Excerpt taken from the Toronto Star, Sep 24, 2007