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Even if you haven’t seen the paintings of Robert-Ralph Carmichael, you’ve seen his art. The common loon on the Canadian dollar coin is Carmichael’s design. Look closely to the right of the loon, just above the waterline, for his initials.
The graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Carleton University began showing in group exhibits in 1958 and had his first solo exhibit in 1971. Carmichael has permanent collections in many art institutes around Canada including the Glenbow Alberta Institute in Calgary, the Peter Whyte Foundation in Banff, Alberta and the Canadian Art Bank in Ottawa. The major theme of his work is the human condition: he portrays how he perceives humans relating to their environment and to each other.
Carmichael’s work for the Canadian Mint includes the “Loonie”, the “Blacksmith” silver dollar, the “Lancaster” $20 aviation coin, the “Insulin” $100 gold coin commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Nobel Prize, and “St Croix Island” silver dollar and 25 cent coin for the 400th anniversary of first French settlement in North America.
In 1994 Carmichael was given the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from Algoma University College in his hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.