I have had a particularly long and rewarding association with Imperial Oil
since they commissioned the mural The Story of Oil in 1957. Imperial Oil also
owns a number of York Wilson works in their corporate collection. For this project, they
underwrote the costs of two segments: the virtual tour of The Story of Oil and
the digital conversion of the 1959 Frank Budge Crawley film Mural. The staff
at Imperial Oil have cherished the memory of York Wilson over the years, and have been
unfailing in their support and advocacy of his legacy. I particularly wish to thank Grant
Parker for addressing all the various requests I have made over the years.
I have had a similarly lengthy association with John Wallack of Wallack Galleries, Ottawa. They have represented York Wilson during his career and own the copyright to art critic Paul Duval’s book York Wilson. They have generously
granted a copyright release of the digital version of this book. I am pleased that this
limited edition book is now available to all those who are interested in York
Wilsons contribution to Canadian art.
Similarly, McGill-Queen's University Press, who is the joint copyright
holder of my biography York Wilson: His Life and Work (1907-1984), granted a
copyright release of the digital version of the book.
William O'Farrell, who represents the estate of Crawley Films, granted a
copyright release of the digital version (both French and English) of the film
Mural. This half-hour documentary on the creation of the Story of
Oil mural is a unique contribution to this project, and is one of the best examples
of the inimitable style of the late great Canadian director Frank Budge
We were fortunate to have been granted a number of video interviews with
individuals who either knew York Wilson or were knowledgeable about his contribution to
Canadian art. I wish to sincerely thank the following individuals for making the time in
their busy schedules: Dr. Anna Hudson, Rita Letendre, John Leroux, John Harris, Ray
Cattell, Dr. Eric McLuhan, Ron Moore, Charles Pachter, David Partridge, Bob Paterson and
Paul Duval. I extend my thanks to Morley Markson for doing the taping of the session with
I would like to thank the following writers who granted us digital reproduction rights to their articles: Paul Duval, Dr. Kim Ness, Hugh Walker, Christopher Hume, Kay Kritzwiser, Michel Seuphor, Dr. Theodore Allen Heinrich, Leonard Brooks, Fred Taylor, Luc Peire and Robert Ayr.
Many curators and directors of public galleries* assisted in this project
by providing recent slides or digital images of York Wilson works to replace older slides
in my personal collection.
I would like to thank Anne Goddard of the National Archives of Canada, and
Carol Bream who manages the York Wilson Endowment Award through the Canada Council for
their ongoing support.
I would like to thank Industry Canada for establishing this program which
makes it possible for Canadians like myself to contribute archival material in such an
accessible medium as the Internet.
Finally, I wish to thank the corporate sponsors of this project, James C. Armstrong and Charles A. Armstrong of S.A. Armstrong Limited, without whose participation through the provision of matching funds this cultural resource would not have been developed. Indeed, corporate sponsorship in its many roles makes an invaluable contribution in the shaping of our cultural awareness, and ultimately, our cultural identity. I extend my sincere appreciation to Jim and Charles for making this tribute to York Wilson possible.
York Wilson was a Canadian nationalist, which was reflected both in his
art form and his personal life. In addition to producing an enormous body of work, over
three thousand works in various media, York voluntarily took on many roles that helped to
develop the infrastructure of the arts community in the 40's and 50's, including the AGO.
He served as President and Board member of numerous arts organizations in his day,
including The Canadian Group of Painters (which included the Group of Seven), The Royal
Canadian Academy of Art, The Ontario Society of Artists and the Ontario College of Art, to
name a few. For many years, he imparted his knowledge to students by teaching in the
evenings, at the OCA and also at the AGO. We have an obligation to recognize the
contribution to the cultural heritage of this country that has been made by individuals
such as York Wilson.
Lela M. Wilson
(Lela M. Wilson 1910-2010)
McMichael Canadian Collection
National Gallery of Canada
Owens Art Gallery, Mount Allison University
Mus;ée des Beaux Arts de Montreal
Ottawa Art Gallery - Firestone Collection
Art Gallery of Hamilton
Above photo of Lela by Jeff Nolte
S.A. Armstrong Limited
Leif Frankling, Margaret Logan, Belinda Conway
Tony Benavides, Sylvia Jurys
The York Wilson Project Team (2002)
Marx Kruis, Pearlamina Cheung, Madalena Cheung, David Kruis, Mark Novello, Ruth Silver,
Michelle Braun, Rob Rump, Guy Parent
Ministry of Heritage
The Hon. Sheila Copps, M.P., Denis Greenall