ERIC ALDWINCKLE. RCA. OSA. CSGA. Official War Artist, RCAF, WWII. [1909-1980].

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Grace Lake, Cloche Mountains, Georgian Bay.
10 ½ x 13 ¾ inches. oil on wood panel. signed & dated 1935 on recto. titled on verso.  

Born in Oxford, England,. he had an early interest in art and was taught to draw and paint as part of his regular schooling. His parents encouraged him in his art. His father was a gourmet chef and practiced in New College, Oxford and elsewhere but died before he was able to make a career. Eric was obliged to supporting his family and had to put aside plans to enter art school. At the age of 15 he came to Canada to join relatives. While working at other jobs he started his self-study to become an artist. He studied the work of the Group of Seven and Charles Comfort. Later he was influenced by the Renaissance masters and by William Blake, Augustus John, Paul Nash, and Henry Moore. His graphic work was influenced by Eric Gill, A.M. Cassandre, Moholy Nagy and the Bauhaus. He produced work of high quality in a variety of mediums: pencil, charcoal, pen and ink, oil, watercolour, and egg tempera. He worked in book illustration, typography, calligraphy, poster, heraldry, medallion, mural, portrait, and landscape. He taught at the Ontario College of Art [1936-42]. During WW II he worked on camouflage in Eastern Canada for the RCAF. Then he became an Official War Artist from 1943-1945, with the rank of flight lieutenant. Overseas he recorded the activities of the Coastal and Bomber Commands in the British Isles and fighter squadrons of the 2nd Tactical Air Force in North-West Europe. He completed 126 drawings and paintings for the War Collection. Two significant works were, “Invasion Pattern, Normandy”, 1945, and “Sunderland Buoying up in the Rain at Slipway”. After the war he returned to professional art. He became Principal of the New School of Design and Vice Principal of the Ontario College of Art [1946]. He continued to produce posters and illustrations and was mentioned by the German periodical Graphik in a review of the 1951 Toronto Art Directors' Club show. He designed the medal for the Massey Foundation Prize for architecture in Canada, and completed murals for the Veterans’ Hospital, Sunnybrook Park, Toronto [1947-48] and for the York Township Hydro [1959]. He was Graphic Art Director for the Stratford Festival [1955-59] and for The University of Toronto's Varsity Graduate [1948-53]. He was an amateur actor, appearing in plays at Hart House, and was mentioned by William Colgate as being of professional caliber. He was also an amateur musician and his compositions were played by Canadian pianist and composer Reginald Godden. He wrote articles on typography, wrote creative works, and fables. His awards include: a medal from the Art Directors' Club for Paper Sculpture, an award for the design of The Great Seat of Canada, and Honourable mention for the 1967 Centennial Coin Designs. He was a member of the Ontario Society of Artists, Canadian Society of Graphic Art, The Arts & Letters Club, Toronto, the Art Directors' Club, Toronto, The Professional Artists' Society, and the Royal Canadian Academy. In 1980 he died in Toronto at the age of 71.

Bibliography: MacDonald. “A Dictionary of Canadian Artists” [vol. I, pp. 49-50].