Tony Scherman was one of the most celebrated figurative artists of his generation. For five decades, he was devoted to the subjects of history and mythology, as seen through a contemporary lens.
His early adoption of the encaustic painting technique - mixing pigments with hot wax and applying the translucent layers to canvas - defined his practice. A renowned expert in this rare and difficult medium, he is credited with reinventing encaustic portraiture. The luminous surfaces and dramatic cropping in his paintings, reinforce their ethereal and visceral qualities.
Scherman was known for working in focused series on monumental subjects that have changed the course of history including the French Revolution (About 1789) and the American Civil War (About 1865). His last body of work, The Coming Good is a phrase adopted by Scherman that asserts an inherent paradox that what is good for one is not necessarily good for all. Wide-ranging subjects such as swans, still-lifes and historical figures, are presented as arenas to contemplate the human condition. They are fraught with tension in the dramatic way they are rendered, refusing to be easily read.
Given the state of affairs in the world today, 'The Coming Good' is either an auspicious phrase or a deeply cynical one, or both.
- Tony Scherman
Tony Scherman (1950 - 2023) grew up in Paris and London. In 1974, Scherman received an MA from the Royal College of Art in London and returned to Toronto in 1976. Scherman has had more than 100 solo exhibitions across Canada, in the United States and Europe. Collections include the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Montréal Museum of Fine Art; Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal; Centre Pompidou, Paris; High Museum, Atlanta and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. His solo exhibition Chasing Napoleon traveled to six American university museums between 2001 and 2002. Most recently in 2019, the survey exhibition, Heroes, Ghosts and Dreams, was presented at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.