Fonds LA.SC114 - Gershon Iskowitz fonds

Identity area

Reference code



Gershon Iskowitz fonds


  • 1988 - 2009 (Custody)
  • [191-?]-1988 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

239 photographs
13 palettes
8 cm of textual records
2 drawings
1 photograph album
1 videocassette
1 film reel
1 audio reel
1 matchbook

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Gershon Iskowitz (1919-1988) was an abstract painter based in Toronto for much of his artistic career. Born in Kielce, Poland on 24 November 1919, he survived internment in Nazi concentration camps and lost his entire family in the Holocaust. Iskowitz studied art in Munich at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in 1947, soon transferring to private studies with Oskar Kokoschka. He moved to Toronto in 1949. His work developed from wartime imagery to a focus on landscapes (particularly inspired by practice in the Parry Sound area), eventually arriving at his mature abstract expressionist style in 1967. Iskowitz began exhibiting with Gallery Moos in 1964, a relationship which continued throughout his career. He taught at the New School (Toronto) from 1967-1970, and his informal mentoring of artists in Toronto is often noted. Iskowitz, along with Walter Redinger, represented Canada at the Venice Biennale in 1972. The artist established the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation in 1985, with the mandate of awarding the Gershon Iskowitz Prize to a mature practising artist; since 2007 the Foundation has partnered with the Art Gallery of Ontario to administer the Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO.

Archival history

Following Iskowitz’s death, material now constituting this fonds was gathered by friends and maintained by the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation. It was transferred directly to the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2008.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

AGO Credit Line: Gift of the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation, 2009.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Fonds consists of personal and professional records of Gershon Iskowitz, including photographic documentation of his family and early life, self and studio, and works of art; publicity material including newspaper clippings about his career; personal artefacts such as identity documents; a small amount of personal correspondence; and a condolence book signed at his memorial service.
Contains series:

  1. Photographs
  2. Publicity material
  3. Identity documents
  4. Personal correspondence and notes
  5. Writings about the artist
  6. Sketch and notes for Northern Lights Septet #3
  7. Audiovisual records
  8. Artist’s palettes
  9. Condolence book

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


No further accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

Original order of material was not apparent by the time the material was acquired by the AGO. Material was arranged by the archivist.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Open. Access to Special Collections is by appointment only. Please contact the reference desk for more information.

Conditions governing reproduction

Various copyright holders. It is the researcher’s responsibility to obtain permission to publish any part of the fonds.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Generated finding aid

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

There are 8 sketchbooks by Gershon Iskowitz in the Art Gallery of Ontario’s permanent collection, donated by the Iskowitz Foundation in 1995.

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

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Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Edward P. Taylor Library and Archives, Art Gallery of Ontario

Rules and/or conventions used



Level of detail


Dates of creation revision deletion



  • English



Archivist's note

Description and finding aid prepared by Amy Marshall Furness, 2009.
Uploaded and adapted by Nirvana Chainani, 2019

Accession area

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