Markle, Robert, 1936-1990

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Markle, Robert, 1936-1990

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Dates of existence

1936-1990

History

Robert Nelson Markle, Canadian artist, writer, educator and musician, was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1936 and died in Holstein, Ontario in 1990. He began his studies at the Ontario College of Art (OCA) in 1954, but was expelled before graduation. While at OCA, he met Marlene Shuster, a fellow student, whom he married in 1958. The focus of Markle’s work from his early days was the female nude, particularly burlesque dancers, and Marlene became his primary model and muse. In 1962 Markle had his first group exhibition at The Isaacs Gallery in Toronto, becoming one of the “Isaacs Group” of artists. In 1965, Markle paintings shown in the exhibition Eros ’65 at the Dorothy Cameron Gallery were seized on a charge of obscenity, drawing considerable media attention. In the mid-1960s Markle began to write for magazines such as the Toronto Telegram Showcase, Maclean’s, and Toronto Life, publishing widely on topics as diverse as striptease, hockey, childhood Christmases, and Gordon Lightfoot. Markle also worked extensively as an illustrator, contributing images to magazines and literary journals. His work as an educator included terms at The New School of Art (1966-1977) and Arts’ Sake (1977-1982) as well as OCA and the University of Guelph. From the early 1960s, Markle played tenor saxophone and piano in the Artists’ Jazz Band. In 1970 the Markles moved to a farmhouse outside of Holstein, Ontario, although Robert re-established a studio in Toronto from 1979 to 1982. In 1979, he won a commission to decorate a Toronto hamburger restaurant, which was named Markleangelo’s in his honour. His other large-scale commissions include wall-sculptures for the Ellen Fairclough Building in Hamilton, Ontario, and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. He executed painted outdoor murals in Owen Sound and Mount Forest, Ontario. Markle was killed in a traffic accident in 1990. Of Mohawk ancestry, Markle used his mother’s spelling of his surname, although it was spelled “Maracle” on his birth certificate. Markle worked primarily in painting and ink drawing, and also explored photography, collage, printmaking, wooden sculpture and neon. He collected folk art, which inspired a number of whirligig works later in his career. His work is in numerous public and private collections, including the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Canada.

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Final

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Full

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Revised 3 November 2018

Language(s)

  • English

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  • Clipboard

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  • EAC