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Exhibitions

Tom Thomson: The Jack Pine and The West Wind
Masterpiece in Focus

27 Jun 2014 - 04 Jan 2015

Gallery C218

Tom Thomson made small oil sketches outside in the open air, painting directly from the Canadian landscape.

Children’s Activities  |  Film Screening

Organized by the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

This exhibition is sponsored by Heffel Fine Art Auction House.

Tom Thomson made small oil sketches outside in the open air, painting directly from the Canadian landscape. In the depths of winter, when Algonquin Park was too cold and inaccessible, he would work these sketches into larger paintings in his modest studio in Toronto.

Thomson died by drowning in early July 1917, and the two large canvases on display in Tom Thomson: The Jack Pine and The West Wind were painted during his last winter. Now iconic images, the paintings seem to represent the grandeur and beauty of a uniquely Canadian environment: vast, elementally sublime, dazzling, isolated.

Also presented in the exhibition are the small sketches from which the paintings were conceived, as well as other sketches made in that final year. These provide us with a sense of the complexities of recording nature in paint, then transforming these impressions into monumental masterpieces.

Both paintings have been recently restored: The Jack Pine underwent conservation treatment in late 2011 and The West Wind was more recently treated. Come see them now, in as close to their original appearance as possible.

Tom Thomson, <em>The Jack Pine</em>(detail), Winter 1916–17, oil on canvas, 127.9 × 139.8 cm. National Gallery of Canada, purchased 1918. Photo © NGC

Tom Thomson, The Jack Pine(detail), Winter 1916–17, oil on canvas, 127.9 × 139.8 cm. National Gallery of Canada, purchased 1918. Photo © NGC