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Tom Thomson, O.S.A. (1877-1917)

We buy and sell paintings by Tom Thomson.  For inquiries, please contact us.

Although closely associated with the artists of the Group of Seven, Tom Thomson was not a member of the group.


Thomas John Thomson was born on August 5th, 1877.  Sixth of ten children, he grew up in Leith on a farm near Owen Sound.  Thomson was always artistically inclined.  He learned to play several instruments, among them the violin and the mandolin.  He also learned to draw and paint.


At age 21, Thomson decided to join his older brother George, who lived and operated his own business school in Seattle Washington.  There he trained in commercial art and found work at a photo engraving firm.  In 1904, he returned to Canada and worked as a senior artist at Legg Brothers, a photo-engraving firm in Toronto. 


In 1909, Thomson joined Grip Limited, an artistic design firm in Toronto; it was at Grip that Thomson became experienced as a draftsman. It was here that he also met future members of the Group of Seven and together they took trips around Canada and through the Ontario wilderness. Although Thomson had always been interested in the arts, it wasn’t until his mid-thirties that he began to paint for a living. In 1912, along with several members of the Group of Seven, Thomson began working at Rous and Mann Press, but he left a year later to focus solely on art with the support of Dr. James MacCallum.


When Thomson took his first visit to Algonquin Park in 1912, he fell in love with the beauty of the nature around him. He began to paint scenes from the park, and would often disappear for days into the park to paint a beautiful scene he had found. He produced many small oil sketches in the park, as they were easy to carry around; many of these sketches can still be seen at the Art Gallery of Ontario.  Dr James MacCallum supported Thomsons work and helped him transition into a professional painter.


In 1913, Thomson first exhibited with the Ontario Society of Artists.  He became a member in 1914 when the National Gallery of Canada purchased one of his paintings. Thomson had lived in apartments and shared homes with other artists over the years, but in 1914 he moved into his own shack on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park. From 1914 to 1917 Thomson spent the spring and fall sketching, and acted as a guide and fire Ranger during the summer in Algonquin Park. He became an expert canoeist and woodsman.   It was in these years that he produced three of his most famous works – Jack Pine, West Wind and Northern River.


Thomson was an avid fisherman and often took canoe trips on Canoe Lake. It was on one such fishing trip on July 8, 1917 that he disappeared. His body was discovered eight days later and the cause of death was listed as accidental drowning; however there is a lot of speculation as to whether it was truly an accident or not.


Thomson left behind about 50 canvases and over 300 sketches.  Although he sold few paintings during his lifetime, there were several posthumous exhibitions, including one at Wembley in London, which brought international attention to his work.  In 1917, James MacDonald and John Beatty erected a memorial on Canoe Lake where Thomson died, and in 1967 the Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery opened in Owen Sound as a tribute to this great artist.




Galerie Eric Klinkhoff, Canadian Art Dealer & Gallery in Montreal

Tom Thomson, O.S.A. (1877-1917)


Oil on panel 8.1/2" x 10.1/2" (SOLD)

Galerie Eric Klinkhoff, Canadian Art Dealer & Gallery in Montreal

Tom Thomson, O.S.A. (1877-1917)

"Northern Lake", 1912

Oil on panel 10" x 7" (SOLD)

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