Will Ogilvie

Will Ogilvie, painter (b at Stutterheim, S Africa 30 Mar 1901; d at Toronto 30 Aug 1989). The first official Canadian war artist (appointed January 1943), Will Ogilvie painted many of his war works under fire, for which he was awarded the OBE. In Johannesburg, Ogilvie studied with Erich Mayer. After emigrating in 1925, he studied at New York's Art Students League (1927-30) with Kimon Nicolaides, whose standard text on drawing, The Natural Way to Draw (1941), gave Ogilvie solid preparation for his war work. War artists Alex Colville, Charles Comfort, Lawren Harris and Campbell Tinning considered Ogilvie the best of the group. He loved Goya, Piero della Francesca and British war artist Paul Nash. There seem to be few traces of his enthusiasms, however, in his detailed, lovingly drawn work. His drawings in the field were spontaneous; his paintings more formal and symbolic. After the war, he taught at the Ontario College of Art 1947-57, then as lecturer at University of Toronto 1960-69. Will Ogilvie was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1979.