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   Thomas John Thomson

Thomas John Thomson


Early Days:

Tom Thomson was born near Claremont, Ontario and grew up in Leith, near Owen Sound. In 1899, he entered a machine shop apprenticeship at an iron foundry owned by William Kennedy, a close friend of his father. He was fired from his apprenticeship by a foreman who complained of Thomson's habitual tardiness. In 1899 he volunteered to fight in the Second Boer War. In 1901, he enrolled in a business college in Chatham and dropped out eight months later to follow his older brother, George Thomson, who was operating a business school in Seattle, Washington. There he met and had a brief summer romance with Alice Elinor Lambert. In 1904, he returned to Canada, and may have studied with William Cruickshank, 1905–1906. In 1907 Thomson joined Grip Ltd., an artistic design firm

Thomson was largely self taught. He was employed as a graphic designer with Toronto's Grip Ltd., an experience which honed his draughtsman ship. Although he began painting and drawing at an early age, it was only in 1912, when Thomson was well into his thirties, that he began painting 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 housed in such galleries as the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

Work done by Thomas John Thomson

Many of Thomson's major paintings, including The Jack Pine, Northern River, and TheWest Wind, began as sketches before being expanded into large oil paintings at Thomson's "studio"—an old utility shack with a wood-burning stove on the grounds of an artist's enclave in Rosedale, Toronto. Although Thomson sold few of these paintings