Canadian painter, born in Toronto. Studied at the Art Association of Montreal 1926-8 and in Toronto at Ontario College of Art. Originally earned his living as a commercial artist and illustrator; made oils and watercolours in his spare time in the tradition of the Group of Seven. Played an active part in the Toronto Abstract Expressionist group Painters Eleven 1953-8 and was influenced by the gestural abstract paintings of the New York School. Contact with Clement Greenberg from 1957 led to his breakthrough in the early 1960s, when he adopted the procedure of staining paint into unprimed canvas first developed by Helen Frankenthaler, Louis and Noland. His first New York exhibition, at the Robert Elkon Gallery in 1962, marked the beginning of his international reputation. Began in 1966 to paint with acrylic, his colours becoming brighter and more opaque. Died in Toronto.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.89