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Item Name: Print
Title: London, set. no. 3
Maker: Toni Onley
Year: 1964
Country: Canadian
Materials: etching
Measurements: in frame: 61 cm x 58 cm; work: 30 cm x 36 cm
ID Number: ART 002
Legal Status: ART RENTAL

Extended Label Info: This print is an early, abstract etching by Toni Onley, created during his years in London, England. Based on the west coast, Onley became well known in Canada for his subtly toned, abstract water-colour paintings of the shoreline and mountain landscapes in British Columbia, and the arctic. Onley learned to fly small aircraft in the 1960s, and often traveled to remote locations, sketching them from the air before landing to work on a painting. Only was also well known as an artist activist, who was deeply concerned for artists’ rights in Canada. In 1983, he famously threatened to burn many of his prints in revolt over Canada Revenue Tax rules that unfairly affected artists’ taxable income from donating artwork. Resultingly, Revenue Canada revised the tax laws, allowing more than the typical five years to establish “a reasonable expectation of profit.” Toni Onley (1928 – 2004) was born in Douglas, Isle of Man in England. In 1948, he moved to Brantford, ON to study with Carl Schaefer at Doon School of Fine Art (1951). Onley received early recognition, winning an award in 1955 at the Western Ontario Annual show of artists under 27, and exhibited his work with the Royal Canadian Academy, and the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colours. Onley moved to Penticton where he taught community classes, and worked as a surveyor, draftsman, and commercial artist. In 1957, Onley won a scholarship at the Institute Allende in Mexico. There, his instructor and mentor James Pinto inspired Onley to work in abstract impressionism, and non-objective work. Onley moved to England to study etching and was one of seven artists selected to represent Canada at the Paris Biennial (1961). Returning to Canada, Onley developed his art practice in landscapes. His artwork has been exhibited internationally and is held in numerous private and public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, USA. Onley was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1999. He died as he lived at the age of 75, while on a sketching flight as his plane crashed into the Fraser River.