Born in 1943, Harold Klunder is one of Canada’s leading painters.
Harold Klunder is widely considered to be one of Canada’s most important painters. He was born in Deventer, The Netherlands in 1943 and immigrated to Canada in 1952. At 17 he left the family farm outside of Hamilton, Ontario to study art at Central Technical School in Toronto from 1960-1964 (most notably under the landscape painter Doris McCarthy who died in 2010 at 100). Upon graduating the young Klunder immersed himself in the Toronto art world as it moved from post-war abstraction into 60s Pop Art and beyond. He had his first solo show at Sable-Castelli in 1976. In the three decades since then Klunder has forged a unique vocabulary of forms to express his commitment to the self-portrait in particular and to the evocative possibilites of paint to evoke states of being. Keenly aware of art history and of the titans of Dutch painters who have come before him, from Rembrandt’s relentless self-scrutiny through to Vermeer’s quality of light to Van Gogh’s fevered impasto and Willem de Kooning’s early series of voracious women, Klunder embeds his influences into his own paintings, often monumental in scale and years in the making. To take in a Klunder painting is to become privy to the narrative - the excavation - of one painter’s lifelong engagement with this most storied of mediums, its profound history and its unmistakable immediacy, always unfolding now, standing outside of time, receptive to the present viewer’s gaze.