Remembering the Art and the Mystery of Tom Thomson: August 5: Snapshots in History
Algonquin Park – Tom Thomson
April in Algonquin Park, 1917 – Tom Thomson
On August 5 and beyond, take a moment to remember Canadian painter Thomas John “Tom” Thomson (Born: August 5, 1877 in Claremont, Ontario; Died: July 8?, 1917 in Algonquin Park, Ontario), often cited as an artistic influence upon the Group of Seven before they formally established themselves as a group. A self-taught graphic designer with Toronto firm Grip Ltd., he developed his drafting skills but only began to paint seriously in 1912. Some of Thomson’s works began from sketches before being expanded into oil paintings. Thomson worked out of an old shack on the property of the now national historic site Studio Building at 25 Severn Street, an enclave for artists in Rosedale financed by Dr. James MacCallum and Lawren Harris (a Group of Seven member and heir to the Massey-Harris farm machinery business). Dr. MacCallum also served as Tom Thomson’s patron which helped to drive Thomson’s creative zenith as a painter during the 1914-1917 period. Unfortunately, like some artists, he sold few works during his lifetime. However, posthumous exhibitions drew increased attention to his work. For admirers of Thomson’s work, there are various places to view his paintings, including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario and the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound, Ontario.
In addition to Thomson’s work, his mysterious death at Canoe Lake, Algonquin Park, on/around July 8, 1917, has fascinated Canadians for decades. Accident? Murder? Suicide? Those interested in interpreting the clues surrounding Thomson’s death for themselves have resources to fall back on, including the website Death on a Painted Lake: The Tom Thomson Tragedy. Whether you are interested in the artwork of Tom Thomson, his untimely demise, or both, please also consider the following items for borrowing from Toronto Public Library collections:
Summer Shore, Georgian Bay - Tom Thomson
The West Wind - Tom Thomson
Autumn Foliage, 1915 - Tom Thomson