In life and on canvas, Tom Thomson (1877–1917) evoked the spirit of the Canadian wilderness. Since his mysterious death at the age of thirty-nine, presumably by drowning, he has attained legendary status in Canadian art.
Thomson was born and raised in rural Ontario near Georgian Bay. As a young man he found employment in commercial art as an engraver, first in Seattle and later in Toronto. Around 1909, he joined a firm called Grip Ltd.; there, he met some of the artists who would eventually found the famed Group of Seven, Canada’s first national school of painters. These men—J. E. H. MacDonald, Arthur Lismer, F. H. Varley, and others—encouraged Thomson to develop his artistic skills and introduced him to new art theories and techniques. In turn, the outdoorsman imparted to the group his love of the north woods, frequently accompanying them on sketching excursions.
In 1913 Thomson quit his job to concentrate on painting, spending most of his time in Algonquin Park, where he worked as a guide and fire ranger in the summer months. As he studiously recorded the moods and seasonal changes of the wilderness, his art improved rapidly. He developed a personal style—characterized by bold brush strokes, an expressive use of impasto, and rich colors—that conveys strength, palpability, and a deep, affectionate familiarity with the landscape.
Thomson died unexpectedly in the summer of 1917 while canoeing in his beloved Algonquin Park. Although the circumstances of his death remain controversial, his work has been embraced unequivocally by the Canadian public. This set of notecards reproduces four of his best oil paintings.
20 cards: 5 cards each of 4 styles. Cards measure 4.75" x 6.75" (12 cm x 17.1 cm) and come with 20 white envelopes in a sturdy cardboard box.