William Ronald’s place in the history of Canadian art was decisively forged by his role in the formation of the Painters Eleven in Toronto in 1953. It was Ronald who organized the “Abstracts at Home” show at Simpson’s Department store that combined abstract artwork and modern furniture in the display windows. The participating artists later got together as a group and exhibited collectively. The Painters Eleven brought abstract art to the forefront in Toronto, where the Group of Seven had continued to dominate artistic practice into the 1950s. Ronald left Toronto for New York in 1955 where he achieved great success as an Abstract Expressionist, but the style soon seemed retrograde and Ronald moved back to Toronto where he pursued a career in broadcasting. Ronald returned to painting in the late 1960s creating large gestural works with paint poured, splattered and smudged on the canvas, emphasizing the performative aspect of painting. Piano Roll Blues continues this exploration and pays tribute to Ronald’s great love of jazz and blues music.