William Townsend, Southeast from 110th Street I, c.1962. Oil on canvas board. Collection of the Artist's Estate. 

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William Townsend (British, 1909-1973) came to Canada for the first time in 1951 to teach painting in Banff, Alberta. For the rest of his life he returned repeatedly to teach in Alberta, surveying the state of contemporary painting across the country while en route. Sharing lessons of modern painting from London, Townsend promoted Canadian art and artists internationally.

Townsend’s legacy includes a collection of modern paintings of the Canadian West and a lifetime of journals detailing his travels, works and artistic encounters. He captured the scale and quality of Alberta’s landscape, both its urban and mountain terrains, using abstract shapes and vivid colouring. Featuring paintings of Edmonton and the Rocky Mountains from the artist’s estate, and informed by journal entries about Canada, this exhibition celebrates Townsend’s legacy. 

Organized by the Art Gallery of Alberta. Curated by Laura Ritchie. Presented by Capital Powered Art, an exhibition series sponsored by Capital Power Corporation.

William Townsend, Cascade XII,1967. Oil on canvas. Collection of the Artist's Estate. 

Laura Ritchie
Head, Exhibitions and Collections Management

Laura Ritchie holds a BA in Art History from Mount Allison University and an MA in the same from Western University. She has worked in collections and exhibitions management and visual arts administration for and with such Canadian art organizations as the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the New Brunswick Crafts Council, the New Brunswick Arts Board, Museum London, the Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery and the Commonwealth Association of Museums. Laura is currently the Head of Exhibitions and Collections Management at the Art Gallery of Alberta.