Fonds LA.SC100 - Dennis Burton fonds

Identity area

Reference code



Dennis Burton fonds


  • 1952-2001 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

355 cm of textual records (125 volumes and additional textual records) 308 photographs

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Dennis Burton (1933-2013) was a Canadian artist and art educator, based much of his life in Toronto and Vancouver. Born in Lethbridge, Alberta, Burton moved to Ontario in 1950 on a scholarship to Pickering College, Newmarket, where he attended Fred Hagan’s art classes. Burton’s education continued at the Ontario College of Art (graduated 1956); the University of Southern California (1955) and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine (1959). He worked at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a senior graphic designer, 1957-60. Burton achieved artistic fame in the mid-1960s with his controversial paintings of female undergarments (giving rise to the term “Garterbeltmania”) and abstractions inspired by genitalia. He was represented by the Isaacs Gallery, Toronto, through the 1960s and 1970s, and became associated with other gallery artists. He was a founding member of the Artists’ Jazz Band, in which he played saxophone. Burton worked extensively as an illustrator throughout this period. His career as an art educator began with his tenure as Chairman of Drawing & Painting Department at the Ontario College of Art, 1970-71; he was Director of the New School of Art 1971-1977, and a founding faculty member and President of Arts’ Sake inc. (1977-78). Burton also taught at the Banff School of Fine Arts (1974), and the University of Lethbridge (1976 & 1989). He was Artist-in-Residence at the Emily Carr College of Art, 1979-80, before accepting a full-time teaching position there in 1980. Burton has exhibited extensively throughout Canada; his work is in numerous public and private collections, including that of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Burton's third wife, the artist Diane Pugen, was the model for a number of his paintings. He had two daughters, Varyn and Maihyet.

Archival history

Material comprising this fonds was maintained by Dennis Burton until its transfer to the Art Gallery of Ontario in April, 2004.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Donated by Dennis Burton in 2004.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Fonds consists primarily of a series of notebooks created by Dennis Burton, containing writing, sketches, photographs, correspondence and ephemera, and recording the artist’s daily activity and thoughts on a wide range of subjects and issues. Notebooks have been arranged in approximate chronological order. Fonds also includes photographs by Burton of various subjects, and a small amount of additional documentation including a file of letters from Avrom Isaacs to Dennis Burton. Fonds is comprised of the following series: 1. Notebooks 2. Photographs 3. Correspondence and related documentation

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Further accruals are expected.

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Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Researchers require the written permission of Dennis Burton, or following his death, the written permission of his estate, to access any part of this fonds. This restriction will be in effect until 2054. Access to Special Collections is by appointment only. Please contact the reference desk for more information.

Conditions governing reproduction

Researchers must abide by the terms of a research agreement prohibiting the publication of third-party personal information in this fonds. Copyright is held by the creator or his heirs. Copyright belonging to other parties, such as that of photographs, may still rest with the creator of these items. It is the researcher’s responsibility to obtain permission to publish any part of the fonds.

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Archivist's note

Prepared by Amy Marshall, 2004.
Uploaded and adapted by Nirvana Chainani, 2019.

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