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Lela Wilson


THANK YOU (by the late Lela Wilson)

The involvement of many individuals helped build this significant digital record of the Canadian experience that was York Wilson’s during his lifetime. This record is now part of the Digital Collections of Canada, and accessible to all Canadians. For me, that is extremely gratifying and I extend my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who contributed in measures both small and large to this project.

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 Wilson’s 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” Crawley.

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 Paul Duval.

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
October 2004
(Lela M. Wilson 1910-2010)


Additional Acknowledgements:

Public Galleries
McMichael Canadian Collection
London Museum
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

Imperial Oil
Tony Benavides, Sylvia Jurys

The York Wilson Project Team (2002)
Marx Kruis, Pearlamina Cheung, Madalena Cheung, David Kruis, Mark Novello, Ruth Silver, Rory Lavelle

Industry Canada
Michelle Braun, Rob Rump, Guy Parent

Ministry of Heritage
The Hon. Sheila Copps, M.P., Denis Greenall

S. A. Armstrong

Konverge and Know, Inc.

Imperial Oil Canada


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