Antony (Tony) Scherman

Obituary of Antony (Tony) Scherman


The artist Tony Scherman, died of cancer at home on February 28, at the age of 72, surrounded by his family.


Tony Scherman pursued and embraced a distinct approach to painting for five decades, with an unmistakable and granular connection to his subject matter. But painting was not simply a chosen activity and facility; it was his way to life and thinking. "Maybe the only thing left is to search for the beautiful. How do you know when you are looking at the beautiful? There is a pain in beauty, as there is pain in love."


As he often recounted with an assured sense of humour, “I had to make paintings in order to get my degree [from the Royal College of Art, London].” His College tutor suggested he try encaustic wax as a medium: “I started experimenting; I fell in love; I still am in love.”


Tony’s career spans more than one hundred solo exhibitions world-wide, attracting critical writing as if a gravitational force, and a legacy of works acquired by international and Canadian public collections. Yet this is not the full measure of a life’s work. Tony was an astonishing conversational polymath. He read, listened, observed, and questioned. Ideas mattered to him. There were no ordinary or indifferent days. He was an inspired cook, and with his beloved wife Margaret, always a gracious and welcoming host.   


Tony’s connection to his students is legendary. Countless have spoken passionately about him over the years. After stepping away from teaching, he packed rooms as a sought-after speaker. Tony was fierce, engaging, inspirational and thought-provoking, above and beyond the private dimension of his studio work. Talks were interwoven with a philosophical and ethical dimension, rather than presenting “sermons about art.” No invitation was too small or minor.


Canadian designer and friend Bruce Mau commented in 2007: “He doesn’t do anything half-way, which is how you have to be to produce things that affect the world. You can’t have it in certain parts of you and not in others, can’t turn it on and off like a tap.”


In his private world, there was a commitment as a community volunteer, to guide people in coming to terms with their personal traumas. Tony’s compassion and empathy for others was ever-present, with meaningful friendships that touched so many people.


Tony was predeceased by his mother Donna Creed, father Paul Scherman and sister Theo. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Margaret Priest; their three children Leo (wife Lara MacInnis and their children Flora and Marina), Georgia, Claudia (partner James Broomfield and their children Wolf and Spring); and his brother Marc (wife Rachel Parnaby and their daughter Violet). He is also survived by numerous close and much-loved cousins from the Creed family, and by a mighty host of dear, dear friends.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Arts, Educational or Medical Research foundation about which you feel most passionately. 

A celebration of Tony's life will take place at a later date.

Condolences may be forwarded through


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