David Gerry Partridge, American (1919 - )


David Gerry Partridge C.M., B.A., D.S.Litt.

Born, Oct. 5,1919; Akron, Ohio,U.S.A.

1919-28 America
1928-35 England
1936-56 Canada
1941-45 Served as a Flying Instructor, R.C.A.F; F/Lt.
1944 Naturalized Canadian.
1945-46 Oakville, Ont.
1946-50 St.Catharines, Ont.
1950-51 London, Eng.
1951-56 St.Catharines, Ont.
1956-58 Sussex, Eng.
1958-62 Ottawa, Ont.
1962-74 London, Eng.
1974-onwards, Toronto, Canada


1930-33 Mostyn House School, Parkgate, Cheshire
1933-34 Radley College, Oxfordshire
1935-38 Trinity College School, Port Hope, Ont
1938-41 Trinity College, University of Toronto, Degree - B.A. (English, History, Geology and Paleontology)and later D. Litt. 2001 (honourary Doctorate, Sacred Letters)

Art Studies:

U of T-Hart House-drawing with Carl Schaefer, much drawing of fossils etc., in Geol./Paleo. Courses
Summer-school, Queen's University 1946, 1947 and 1949, Andre Bieler, Carl Schaefer and Will Ogilvie
Summer 1948 Art Students League, N.Y.C. Harry Sternberg, Life-drawing, Lithography
1950-51. The Slade School, University of London. British Council Scholarship. Tom Monnington, Edward Ardizzone, drawing. John Buckland-Wright - a wonderful introduction into etching and engraving. Robert Medley, stage and costume design. Contact with stimulating "Visitors" Graham Sutherland and John Piper and other Slade professors: William Coldstream, Claude Rogers and William Townsend
Spring 1958. Atelier 17, Paris. With William Hayter, etching and engraving. Perhaps the most stimulating six weeks of learning and living to date!

Teaching: 1946-1962 (Excepting 1950-51 and 1956-58)

1945-46. Appleby College, Oakville, Ont.
1946-56. Ridley College, St.Catharines, Ont.
1952-56. St.Catharines Collegiate an Voc. Inst.
1952-56. St.Catharines Art Association. (Co-founder).
1955, 1959,1960. Queen's Summer School. Kingston, Ont.
1958-61. The Ottawa Civic Art Centre.
1960-61. Docent, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.
First Curator and Co-founder, in 1952, of the St.Catharines Public Library Art Gallery. (Later to become the St. Catharines Art Gallery at Rodman Hall).

Societies Etc:
1961-70. Ontario Society Of Artists. (Resigned)
1962-86. The Royal Canadian Academy. (Retired)
1971-90. Fellow Royal Society of Arts, London, England (Retired)
1965-74. The London Group. (England)
Trustee Art Gallery of Ontario- 1977,1978,1979,1980


1950-51. British Council Scholarship
1961. Runner-up Carleton University Mural Competition
1962. Sculpture Prize and Purchase Award. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Spring Show. "Standing Configuration" Wood and Nails 1
1969. Hon. Mention R.C.A. Ex
1969. Winner R.C.A.F. Memorial Comp, Westminster Cathedral, London, England
1976. Toronto Aviva Sculpture Prize
1976. Winner "Wall of Art" Century Place. Belleville, Ont. Competition, Zeidler Associates
1977. Winner City Hall Mural comp. Toronto
1978. Winner R.C.A. Sculpture Comp. To mark "Symposium '78"
1978. Toronto Aviva Sculpture Prize.
2001. Doctor of Sacred Letters (Honoris Causa) D.S.Litt.; Trinity College, University of Toronto.
2003. Member of the Order of Canada C.M.

Commissions (all naillies unless otherwise stated):

1961. "The Nailhead Lounge" Townhouse Motel, Ottawa , 5'x 12'
1962. The Royal Trust Co. Ottawa. Mural, Gatineau stone.Nails, 11'6" x 34'
1962. Arndale Property Trust. Boardroom, London,Eng., 6' x 6'6"
1962. Shanklin Hotel, Isle of Wight. Mural 8' x 8'6"
1963. The Coral Beach Hotel. Beirut, Lebanon, 8' x 4'
1965. Hiram Walker Hospitality Centre, Windsor, Ont. 18' x 11'
1965. Royal Garden Hotel, London. Ceiling, "Galaxy #1". 9' x 14'
1966. Davis Group. Loughborough, Eng. Mural, 8' x 12'
1966. Expo '67. "Cratered Column" 12' x 2' x1'
1966. Northwest Electricity Board, Loughborough, Eng. 8' x 12'
1968. Pillar Holdings, London. Mural Panel of Aluminium extrusions. 6' x 2'
1968. Westminster Cathedral, London. R.C.A.F. Memorial. 5'x2'
1968. Bishop Delisle School, Leicestershire, "Transfiguration" 8' x 4'
1970. York University. Toronto. Scott Library. Two 12' x 21' Murals
1970. Century Place, Belleville, Ont. Reflective boxes. 70' x 40'
1970. "Metropolis" Toronto City Hall. Mural 7'6" x 32'
1970. Art Gallery of Windsor. "Canadian Shield" Mural 12' x 15'
1983. Bell Trinity.Bay St. Toronto. "Soundscape" Mural 8' x 12'
1983. Canada's Capital Congress Centre." Ottawa Soundscape" 8' x 12'
1990. St.Martin-in-the-fields. Toronto."Here is The Spirit" 70"x 70"

Public Collections (Naillies unless otherwise specified):

National Gallery of Canada. Prints, Painting, Naillie.
The Art Gallery of Ontario.
The Tate Gallery, London/Liverpool.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Art.
The London Regional Museum, London,Ont.
The Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
The Art Gallery of Windsor, Ontario.
The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario.
The Northumberland Art Gallery, Cobourgh. Ontario.
The Art Gallery of Peel, Brampton, Ontario.
Rodman Hall, St.Catharines.
The Oldham Art Gallery, Oldham. Lancashire.
The Arts Council of Great Britain.
The Canada Council Art Bank.
The Leicestershire Education Authority (England) 35 works.
The University of Leicester. England.
The University of Surrey, Guildford, England.
Sheffield University, England.
Queen's University, Kingston, Ont.
The University of Western Ontario, London, Ont.
University College, U of T. Toronto.
Trinity College, U of T. Toronto.
The Rotman School of Business Management, U of T. Toronto.
Mount Allison University.
The University of New Brunswick.
Mount St. Vincent University, Halifax.
Loughborough College. England.
Coventry College of Education. England.
Pearson College, Vancouver Island.
Centennial College, Toronto.
George Brown College, Toronto.
Trinity College School, Port Hope, Ont.
Ridley College, St. Catharines, Ont.
The Sarnia Art Gallery, Sarnia, Ont.
The Ottawa Art Gallery, Ottawa.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal.
The Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
The National Gallery of Malaysia.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Santiago, Chile.
The Library of Congress, Washington.
Guelph University.
Ohio State University.

Group Exhibitions:

1948-1962.Variously with: The Canadian Soc. Of Painters, The O.S.A., The R.C.A., Can. Soc. Of Painters in Watercolour.The Montreal Mus. Spring Shows, Niagara District Art Assoc., St. Catharines Public Art Gallery.
1958 Nouvelles Realities, Paris
1958 The Philadelphia Print Club. (Prints).
1959 3rd Biennial of Canadian Art.
1961 4th. Biennial of Canadian Art.
1962 International Print Ex Cincinnati. U.S.A.
1962 Montreal Mus.F.A. Spring Show (see awards).
1963 Art of The Americas and Spain, Madrid and Barcelona (prints).
1963 1st. Biennial of American Graphics, Santiago, Chile.
1963 The Art Gallery of Hamilton, Winter Show.
1963 The Art Gallery of Toronto. Women's Comm. Ex. And Sale.
1963 National Gallery of Canada Assoc. Ballot Sale, Ottawa.
1963 "Sculpture for the Home" The Grosvenor Gallery, London, England.
1963 1st. Biennial of Commonwealth Abstract Art. London.
1963 "Europe 1963" New Vision Centre, London.
1964 "Four Painter Sculptors" London, Ont.
1964 Common-Wealth Biennial of Abstract Art-Edinburgh, Eastbourne and Reading, England.
1964 Manchester Institute of Contemporary Art, Eng.
1964 The London Group ("Vertebrate Configuration purchased by Tate Gallery.
1964 Canadian Watercolours, Drawings and Prints, Nat. Gal. of Canada, Ottawa.
1964 Pittsburgh International, Carnegie Institute.
1964 2nd. Canadian Sculpture Ex. National Gallery, Ottawa.
1965 Art Gallery of Toronto "Art and Engineering" (Naillie photo used on Catalogue cover).
1965 Sculptors' Soc. of Canada Ex., Stratford , Ont. 1965 Harlow Arts Festival, Essex, Eng.
1966 "Art of the Commonwealth", Nottingham, Eng.
1966 5th. Tokyo International Print Biennial, Tokyo.
1967 Canadian Abstract Art, London and Edinburgh.
1967 "Sculpture '67", Toronto.
1968 Leicestershire Educ. Authority, Whitechapel Gallery, London.
1968 "Skill", Goldsmith's Hall,London, Leeds, Glasgow and Newcastle-on-Tyne.
1969 Canada Council Collection, Nat. Gal. Ottawa (Prints).
1970 "The Artist at Work" Hampstead Arts Centre, London.
1976 "Spectrum Canada" Montreal.
1977 "Rehearsal"- Harbourfront Art Gallery, Toronto
1978 "Sculpture 1978" Toronto,London, Brussels.
1979 "Art For All" Windsor Art Gallery, Windsor, Ont.
1980 R.C.A. show at C.N.E., Toronto.
1987 Northumberland A.G. Cobourg, Ont.
1992 "Year of The Horse" Westin Harbourcastle Hotel, Toronto. 1996 "Circa 1996" Toronto.
1997 Moore Gallery Artists. Toronto.

One Man Exhibitions:

1956. St. Catharines Public Art Gallery.
1957. The Rose and Crown, , Sussex, Eng.
1959.The Robertson Galleries, Ottawa.
1959. St.Catharines P.L.A.G.
1959. The Gallery of Contemporary Art, Toronto.
1960. Robertson Gal. Ottawa--First Naillies shown.
1961. Here and Now Gallery, Toronto, Prints, Paintings and Naillies.
1962. Robertson Gal. Ottawa.
1962. Galerie Agnes Lefort, Montreal.
1962. Jerrold Morris International Gallery, Toronto.
1964. New Vision Centre, London (naillies only, as are most of the rest of the shows).
1965. Galerie Agnes Lefort.
1965. Commonwealth Inst. London (with Toni Onley).
1965. New Charing Cross Gallery, Glasgow.
1966. University of Sheffield, Eng.
1967. Hamilton Galleries, London,Eng.
1968. The Richard De Marco Gallery, Edinburgh.
1970. The Covent Garden Gallery. London.
1973. The Roberts Gallery, Toronto.
1974. The Alwin Gallery, London (Farewell England).
1975. Roberts Gallery, Toronto.
1975. The Art Gallery of Windsor, Ont.
1976. The Art Centre, U.N.B.,Fredericton, N.B.
1978. The Roberts Gallery, Toronto.
1979. A.G.O. "CONTACT" ( Show traveled around Ontario).
1982. Gallery Quan, Toronto.
1983. Gallery Quan, Toronto.
1986. Nancy Poole's Studio, Toronto,(paintings- "Ultralight Approaches").
1986. The Moore Gallery, Hamilton.
1988. Nancy Poole's S.(Nails).
1996. The Bau Xi Gallery, Toronto.
1998. The Moore Gallery, Toronto.

References: In Books, Magazines, Principle Critiques:

Aug. 7, 1957 "Portrait of the Artist" ART NEWS AND REVIEW, London.
Sept. 1960 "CONFIGURATIONS" CANADIAN ART, pps 286-8.
Spring 1961 CANADIAN ART-Graphics issue. Statement by D.G.P. p 107.
Spring 1962 CANADIAN ART. Profile by Philip Pocock pps 148-9.
July 27 1962 "THE NAIL MAN" TIME MAGAZINE (Canadian Edition).
May 1964 "DAVID PARTRIDGE" by Pierre Rouve. ARTS REVIEW. London.
Oct. 1964 Article by Marjorie Bruce-Smith. CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR.
July/Aug '64 Cover of "INTERIOR DESIGN" London.
1964/5 QUADRUM #17. (Brussels).Article. By Kenneth Coutts-Smith. Pps 148-9.
May 2 1965 "Nail Art" by Sheldon Williams, THE GUARDIAN.
July 1965 "David Partridge's Nail Mosaics" Charles Spencer. STUDIO INTERNATIONAL.
1966 Illus. P 90. "MAKING MOSAICS" John Barry, Studio Vista, London.
Winter 1966 "NAIL ART" illustrated article in "COMMONWEALTH TODAY" London.
7.VIE DES ARTS, Montreal, "Les Gouttes D'Airain De David Partridge" P.Rouve.
May 1967 Critique by Alastair Gordon. THE CONNOISSEUR, London.
Dec.11 1967 THE SCOTSMAN. "Alchemy of the Nail Artist" by Edward Gale.
1966.Back cover and illus. Pps, 71, 117-123. "MODERN MOSAIC TECHNIQUES", By Lovoos and Paramore. Watson-Guptill.
Feb. 1968 Cover; "THE DIRECTOR" London.
1967.Illus. Pps.120, 174. "ART IN ARCHITECTURE" by Louis Redstone. McGraw Hill.
Oct. 6 1969 "CANVAS" Cover and article by David Bruxner. London.
1971 Pps. 73,74. "EXPLORING SCULPTURE" by Jan Arundel. Mills & Boon. London.
Oct. 13 1973 Critique by Kay Kritzwiser. The GLOBE AND MAIL, Toronto.
May 6 1978 "Nailman's Lament" by Stephen Godfrey. The GLOBE AND MAIL, Toronto.
Sept.19 1979 THE WINDSOR STAR- article by David Quintner, pps. 18, 19.

"A DICTIONARY OF CANADIAN ARTISTS" VOL 5. Colin S.MACDONALD, Canadian Paperbacks. Definitive Bio, and References. Pps. 1512 to 1516.
DAVID PARTRIDGE on the "NAILLIES:" technique and materials:

The technique involved is fairly straight-forward. Nails of differing sizes are hammered part-way into wood, the shortest nails first, to create a relief sculpture.

Materials: Nails of all sorts and lengths. Currently Aluminum nails most often, but Copper and Steel are in evidence. Nail-heads may be polished or shaped with abrasive discs on drill or Dremel Tool. Aluminum nails ensure that even large works are not excessively heavy.

Plywood, 3/4" to 1" most often receive the nails. Solid doors up to 2" thick are also a good ground which can also be carved into, adding to the 3-dimensionality of the piece. Beams up to 6" x 6" by 12' have been used in the past, creating "all-around" naillies.

Thin aluminum sheeting may be contact cemented to the plywood which may be either pierced by nails or be part of the composition. It is usually buffed or abraded with a sanding disc to give it texture. And Aluminum Duct Tape is often used to give texture and surface effects.

Portions of the finished work may be clear-lacquered or spray or brush-painted with acrylic or oil based paints.

PARTRIDGE on the origination of the Configurations:
I was studying at Atelier 17 in Paris, etching and engraving, with William Hayter, during February and March of 1958. I was fascinated by the irregular surfaces of deep-etched copper and zinc plates, irrespective of their purpose in printing. They became low-relief sculptures, which seemed to my ex-pilot's eyes like aerial views of topography.

While gallery-hopping on the Rue du Seine one Saturday, I chanced on an exhibition by ZOLTAN KEMENY, (a Hungarian Sculptor, born in 1907, tragically killed in a car-crash in 1965). These were wonderful bas-reliefs using all manner of metal bits and pieces, welded into an even more exciting aerial vision than the etched plates had provided.

The following winter in Ottawa I was using wood and nails while re-decorating an old house we had moved into. Somehow a nice 2ft. x 3ft. piece of ?" plywood was left over from a project. Nails were at hand and a hammer! I descended to the basement and made my first nail sculpture.

I produced quite a few more in 1959 and 1960. I had an exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Configurations at The Robertson Galleries, 103 Queen St. Ottawa, Oct. 17th. 1960. It was a reasonably successful show and the nail works were well received.

The term "CONFIGURATIONS" came one evening when Alan Jarvis (Nat.Gal.of Can.) and his wife Betty had supper with Tibs and me. It was Tibs' suggestion. We looked it up in the dictionary and it seemed an appropriate description of what seemed to be a new "art form."

As time has gone on my private name, "NAILLIES" has become accepted. Perhaps not as dignified as the original term, but reasonably descriptive.

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