Tom Thomson

Canada / 1877 - 1917 / / wikipedia
Born in 1877 on a farm in Ontario, the sixth of 10 children, Thomas John Thomson began his life rooted to the land beside the sparkling waters of Georgian Bay. At 22, he followed his eldest brother west to the gold rush town of Seattle, where he trained in commercial art and soon found work at a photo engraving firm. He also met the beautiful young Alice Eleanor Lambert.

He returned to Canada...

Thomas John "Tom" Thomson (Aug. 5, 1877 – July 8, 1917); influential Canadian artist of the early 20th century. He directly influenced a group of Canadian painters that would come to be known as the Group of Seven, and though he died before they formally formed, he is sometimes incorrectly credited as being a member of the group itself. Thomson died under mysterious circumstances, which added to his mystique.

...Thomson was largely self-taught. He was employed as a graphic designer with Toronto's Grip Ltd., an experience which honed his draftsmanship. Although he began painting and drawing at an early age, it was only in 1912, when Thomson was well into his 30s, that he began to paint seriously. His first trips to Algonquin Park inspired him to follow the lead of fellow artists in producing oil sketches of natural scenes on small, rectangular panels for easy portability while traveling. Between 1912 and his death in 1917, Thomson produced hundreds of these small sketches, many of which are now considered works in their own right, and are housed in such galleries as the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

Although he died before its official formation, Thomson had a significant influence on the group. In his essay "The Story of the Group of Seven", Harris wrote that Thomson was "a part of the movement before we pinned a label on it"; Thomson's paintings The West Wind and The Jack Pine are two of the group's most iconic pieces.
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