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HomeNL-2015-05 Tom Thomson

Tom Thomson, Artist & Canoeist
John Rich

Tom Thomson
1877 - 1917
Thomas Thomson was born in Ontario, Canada, in 1877.  In 1907, after moving from job to job, Thomson joined an artistic design firm in Toronto, and started his art career.  Thereafter he often traveled around Ontario with his colleagues, especially to the wilderness, which was to be a major source of inspiration for him.
Thomson was mostly a self-taught artist. He began painting and drawing at an early age, but he was into his thirties when he began to paint seriously. His first trips to Algonquin Park inspired him to produce oil sketches of nature scenes. 

"The Canoe"
"Canoe and Lake"

1990 postage stamp
from the 1917 oil
painting "The West
Thomson disappeared during a canoeing trip on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park in 1917, and his body was discovered in the lake eight days later.  The cause of death was determined to be accidental drowning.  But theories proliferated about Thomson's cause of death, including suicide and murder.
Since his death, Thomson's work has grown in value and popularity, with individual paintings selling for well over $100,000.  Or you can buy the postage stamp for $1.50.  In 2002, the National Gallery of Canada staged a major exhibition of his work, giving Thomson the same level of prominence afforded Picasso and Renoir.  The story of his life has spawned books, a movie, a postage stamp and more.
"The best I can do does not do the
place much justice in the way of beauty."
 - Tom Thomson

"Take everything as it comes; the wave
passes, deal with the next one."
- Tom Thomson

• The full story:
• Art images: Google

The author, John Rich