A fresh and imaginative look at the work, life and times of the artist Tom Thomson in Ottawa in Summer 2002
Ottawa, Canada - February 18, 2002PRESS RELEASE
« Un regard neuf et audacieux sur l'œuvre, la vie et l'époque du légendaire artiste Tom Thomson à Ottawa à l'été 2002 »
Those who believe everything has been said about the iconic Canadian artist Tom Thomson will be surprised when they visit the first major retrospective of his work in over thirty years, at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa in summer 2002. Over one hundred and forty oil sketches, paintings and designs by Thomson and additional paintings by his contemporaries will reveal to new audiences the diversity of Thomson's oeuvre and his outstanding abilities as a colourist. This is a fresh and imaginative look at the work, life and times of Tom Thomson that, for the first time since his death in 1917, establishes a sound chronology of his artistic development and considers his life and work in the context of the period in which he lived. The exhibition Tom Thomson will be on view from 7 June to 8 September 2002 at the National Gallery of Canada.
"We are delighted to present the Tom Thomson exhibition, which is anticipated as Ottawa's major cultural event of 2002", says Pierre Théberge, Director of the National Gallery. "Thomson's paintings forged new directions for Canadian art. His life and his art encouraged other artists to explore and paint the north. He, and the artists who would later form the Group of Seven, developed a style of painting that they felt was uniquely expressive of the Canadian experience and environment ".
Born 5 August 1877, near Claremont, Ontario, Tom Thomson began painting in oil in 1911 but devoted himself to painting full time only in 1914. His contributions to pictorial art were unique. In Thomson's oil sketches one is able to follow the seasons' passing, from the late winter snow to the budding of spring; from the skies of summer and changing of fall leaves to the first snows of winter. We have learned to see the colour and light of the northern landscape through Thomson's art. His name has always been associated with the Group of Seven because his painting and his life were an inspiration to his friends, the artists who formed this group in the spring of 1920, three years after Thomson's death.
The Tom Thomson exhibition will be presented by Export Development Canada (EDC), which helps Canadian firms succeed globally by providing them with trade finance and risk management services in up to 200 markets. "EDC is proud to present the Tom Thomson exhibition in Ottawa in recognition of arts' contribution to the vibrancy of our nation and Canada's image abroad. This image is integral to the success of Canadian exporters and complements the role of EDC," says A. Ian Gillespie, EDC president and CEO. "As one of Canada's most influential artists, Thomson pointed Canadian artistic expression in new directions that to this day helps define Canada on the world stage."
The exhibition is divided into five sections: a chronological section looking at Thomson's paintings through the sketching seasons from late to early winter and the canvases painted in his Toronto studio; the changing character of his subject matter in Algonquin Park, from logging to tourist development; his links to the Arts and Crafts movement and to the work of his contemporaries; his painting techniques and use of pigments; and the posthumous formation of a mythology around his life and death.
Organized by the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario, and circulated by the National Gallery of Canada, the Tom Thomson exhibition will first be shown in Ottawa in the summer 2002, and afterwards travel to Vancouver, Québec City, Toronto and finally to Winnipeg. The exhibition is also sponsored by Le Droit, Ottawa Citizen, CBC Television and La télévision de Radio-Canada. The National Gallery of Canada is producing, with the Art Gallery of Ontario and Douglas & McIntyre, a full colour illustrated catalogue with essays by a diverse range of authors. An extensive program of lectures, tours, and workshops will be offered for all ages.
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