Iskowitz, Gershon

 Gershon Iskowitz, painter (b at Kielce, Poland 21 Nov 1921; d at Toronto 26 Jan 1988). A survivor of concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald, Iskowitz studied painting briefly with Oscar Kokoschka in Munich. In 1949 he immigrated to Canada. His first paintings after his arrival in Toronto were dark memories of his past, but gradually he began to paint landscapes, first around Toronto, then in the Parry Sound area. Though his works were at first representational, the landscapes that later developed were abstracted from nature. After a Canada Council grant in 1967 enabled him to take a helicopter ride over Churchill, Man, his abstract paintings became reminiscent of aerial views of the landscape. Building layer on layer of oil paint, Iskowitz delighted in the experience of making the paintings and in the joy of the landscapes and the colours. In 1985, recognizing the value of the Canada Council's assistance over the years, Iskowitz established The Gershon Iskowitz Foundation, which gives $25 000 annually to a mature, practising artist.