Canadian Mosaic: Tom Thomson, Spring

Beaverbrook Art GalleryMay 5, 20170 Comments

Canadian Mosaic: Tom Thomson, Spring

 

After recently completing a tour of North America in the travelling exhibition Masterworks from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Tom Thomson’s painting Spring, c. 1915 will soon be on view once again in the exhibition Canadian Mosaic: Celebrating 150 Years from the Permanent Collection.

Tom Thomson was born near Claremount, Ontario and grew up near Georgian Bay.  As an artist, he was largely self-taught but gained experience in Seattle as a commercial artist before moving back to Canada. Without a doubt, Thomson is one of the most important painters in the history of Canadian painting. Thomson had a profound influence on the artists that would go on to form the Group of Seven in 1920, about three years after his tragic death.

The painting Spring is a glowing example of Thomson’s distinctive impressionist style. Thomson is widely known for the way in which he employed colour and texture with the aim of capturing mood and evoking emotion. Indeed, Spring heralds the first signs of spring, with its lush blooming foliage, warm pink skies, and soft muddy ground. The painting has been thoroughly enjoyed by local and national audiences since it was gifted to the Gallery by Lord Beaverbrook in 1959. The piece has been borrowed and exhibited by other institutions in Canada including the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1971 and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in 2010.

Interestingly, it is documented in the painting’s files that the painting once featured a small deer in the foreground. At some point, Thomson must have decided that the deer did not fit with the overall image, and subsequently decided to paint it out. Today, the area where the deer once stood can be identified by the subtle textural change in paint applied overtop of the original composition.

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