The Canadian Wilderness: Favorite Tom Thomson Landscapes

17 Feb

Tom Thomson, Rocky Shore (1916)

Tom Thomson, Sunset Sky (1915)

Note: click on any image to enlarge

Anyone who has followed this blog for awhile knows I’m a big fan of Canadian artist Tom Thomson (1877-1917).  My interests range far and wide, but I always find myself coming back to Thomson.  I looked back on prior blog posts and realized I’d never collected more than a few images of his paintings in one place.  It’s good to look at a collection of them in one sitting to get an overall feel for his style, so that’s what I’m aiming at here.

Tom Thomson, Afternoon, Algonquin Park (c. 1914)

Tom Thomson, Deadwood (date unknown)

Tom Thomson, The Jack Pine (c. 1916-17)

Many critics see the influence of Van Gogh in Thomson’s bold brushstrokes and vivid coloring, and liken his compositional style to Cezanne’s — a slight telescoping of the depth of field emphasizes the flat plane of the surface without entirely relinquishing the third dimension.  You can also see Arts and Crafts design elements, especially in the somewhat stylized clouds and trees in many Thomson paintings.  I see it a lot in The Jack Pine (above) and in Bateaux, The West Wind and Pink Island (below).

Tom Thomson, Flowers (date unknown)

Tom Thomson, Bateaux (1916)

Tom Thomson, The West Wind (1917)

Thomson spent a great deal of his life painting in Algonquin Park, a Canadian provincial park located between Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River in Central Ontario.  Established in 1893, it is the oldest provincial park in Canada.  Algonquin Park was also a favorite of the Canadian Group of Seven (usually called simply “The Seven”), a group that was heavily influenced by Thomson.

Tom Thomson, Northern River (c. 1914-15)

Tom Thomson, Lightning Bolt (date unknown)

Tom Thomson, Campfire (c. 1916)

Thomson painted almost exclusively en plein air, and his quick, bold, loose brushstrokes were ideally suited to capturing the quickly-changing light and air of the rugged Canadian wilderness.  The deceptive simplicity of his compositions is a direct reflection of the environment in which they were painted.

Tom Thomson, Hot Summer Moonlight (1915)

Tom Thomson, Pink Island (date unknown)

A large collection of Thomson’s work is contained in the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa (see link on this site) and his work has greatly escalated in value in recent years.  It’s not hard to understand why!  I hope you enjoy Thomson’s work as much as I do.

3 Responses to “The Canadian Wilderness: Favorite Tom Thomson Landscapes”

  1. Shali March 3, 2015 at 6:01 am #

    I love his work too. I just picked up a really old rendition of Bateaux at a thrift shop. It is on a board. It is not a paper print either.. Not sure how they did it in them days, Very old.

    • bobbalouie March 3, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

      That sounds like a great find. If you get a minute send me a photo of it I’d love to see it. Thank you for your comment!

      • Shali March 3, 2015 at 7:03 pm #

        I will send y a pic soon

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