Tom Thomson is one of Canada’s most beloved painters. Described as our “greatest colourist” and “our Van Gogh”, Thomson’s vibrant interpretations of the northern landscape are iconic representations of the Canadian soul.
Born on a farm in rural Ontario, one of ten children, aimless and uncertain of his future, Thomson followed one of his older brothers to Seattle where he first dabbled in oil painting. Returning home four years later, he landed a job at a photo-engraving firm in Toronto. His colleagues – future members of the Group of Seven – were highly trained artists who saw potential in this modest and generous man.
Comfortable in the woods, Thomson led them north, to Algonquin Park, where they experimented in painting rivers, lakes, trees and skies in a bold new way, with raw and vibrant colours.
On July 8, 1917, just as he was reaching ascendancy in his craft, Tom Thomson paddled across Canoe Lake, and disappeared. His dead body was found floating in the lake eight days later. The cause of his death remains a mystery.
What is it about Tom Thomson’s life, art and death that haunt us still, that draw thousands to his cairn at Canoe Lake each summer and propels his little sketches to the stratosphere of the Canadian Art market? West Wind: The Vision of Tom Thomson unravels many of the mysteries of this brilliant, beloved artist.
Running time: 1:35