Two Thomson paintings are joining our 2017 art exhibit “Legacy” from July 9th to July July 16th. Please join us for a special opening on Sunday, July 9th, from 11 am to 4 pm, to welcome these Thomson paintings back to the park and to launch our brand new “Legacy” path.  The event will include free coffee, tea, and cookies, and have AAC artists working on site. Don’t miss this great opportunity to see Thomson originals in the very place that inspired them, Algonquin Park.

Admission is voluntary. Valid Park permit is required.


Title: View from a Height, Algonquin Park (Fall, 1916)

Medium: Oil on composite wood-pulp board

Size: 8 1/2″ x 10 1/2″

Comments from Art Historian Joan Murray:

“View from a Height, Algonquin Park” was painted in the fall of 1916. In late May of that year, Thomson had taken a job as a fire ranger, following the Booth Lumber Company’s drives down the Petawawa River at the north end of the Park. He was stationed at Achray on Grand Lake and in August, with his friend Ed Godin, took a canoe trip down the south branch of the Petawawa (now the Barron) River and up the north branch of Lake Traverse. He probably returned to Toronto in late October or early November. The hints at fall colouring in this sketch and its view from a height suggest that he may have painted it when he was at Achray or on his canoe trip.

This sketch, likely painted at Twilight, explores the theme of trees against water and distant hills, one which recalls in essence Tom’s sketches for “The West Wind” and “The Jack Pine”, though here the view is taken from a height. The work is unusual since he painted on a wood-pulp board by contrast to most of the season’s sketches which were on wood panel. Here, as in other sketches of 1916, he used subtly contrasting colours, low in tone, and handled the paint with great fluidity. This compact painting with its strong design and sense of mystery exudes a powerful and compelling visual poetry.

Title: Northern Lake  (Spring or fall 1912)
Medium: Oil on paperboard (Birchmore board)
Size: 7″ x 10″
Comments from Private Collector:

This sketch was acquired by the present owner in 1991. At the time of acquisition, the sketch was said to have been painted in the summer of 1912 while Tom Thomson and H.B. Jackson were on a 3 week canoe trip in the Mississaugi area north of Lake Huron. The present owner, having canoed and camped extensively in Algonquin Park, was certain that Thomson was seated on the south side of Molly’s Island in Smoke Lake looking south when the sketch was created. Correspondence was exchanged between the owner and both Charles Hill, the then Director of Canadian Art at the National Gallery of Canada and Joan Murray, author and leading expert on the work of Tom Thomson.  Based on the submissions of the current owner, it was agreed that in fact, the work was created in either the spring or fall of 1912 in Algonquin Park. Subsequently, well known authors, paddlers and researchers, Joanie & Gary McGuffin began locating, visiting and photographing painting sites used by both Tom Thomson and other members of the Group of Seven in both Algonquin Park and the Algoma/Lake Superior areas. As part of the project, the McGuffin’s visited Molly’s Island and photographed the exact view of Smoke Lake looking south that Tom Thomson had when he painted this sketch, Northern Lake. There were four sketches of Northern Lake done by Thomson in preparation for the painting of the larger canvas painting “Northern Lake” which would have been completed in the late fall or early winter of 1912.  The large painting was the first Algonquin Park painting sold by Thomson.  The painting was purchased by the Province of Ontario and is now in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario.

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Algonquin Art Centre - Gallery in the Heart of Algonquin Park

open June 1 - October 19

10 am to 5:30 pm daily


located at km 20 on Hwy #60

in the Heart of Algonquin Park


(705) 633-5555 / 1-800-863-0066

Algonquin Art Gallery
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