Dr. James MacCallum, Letter to T. J. Harkness, May 6, 1918

Mr. T. J. Harkness,
Owen Sound, Ont.

May 6th 1918

Dear Sir,

I am enclosing the letter from the National Gallery, of which I wrote you. The sketches of which they propose to take 25, include only about eight that are really good. I cannot lay my hands on George’s letter just now, but his idea was that if they took fifty, to let them have at $20.00 apiece. His idea about the large pictures was $500.00. The one called “The Woodland Garland” is one which we would have great difficulty in getting rid of, both on account of its subject and because of its size. I had thought that if we got $500.00 for it, we would be very lucky indeed. The other one – The Jack Pine – I asked them one thousand dollars for, and I asked them for the Woodland Garland, $750.00. The Government is now making a very poor mouth. Under ordinary circumstances I think I would have succeeded in getting what I asked. You may have noticed that in the May Exhibition here, that $300.00 was the highest price paid for any picture, so that we have no reason to complain. The difficulty is that the Parliament has not made any allowance as yet for this year to the National Gallery, so that there is some doubt as to the time when payment will be made. I have left it in such a way that I can back out of the proposition, but it seems to me that it is wise to accept it, because I believe the war will last for some years yet. I wish you would consult with George about it, and see what he thinks. His idea, was, as I understand, that we would have got about $500.00 for each of the big pictures. It must not be overlooked that the fact of their being sold to the National Gallery will help us in the sale of the small sketches. I think it well too, because of retaining the goodwill of Sir Edmund Walker. I think he will make special effort to have two of the large pictures and some 20 or 30 of the small sketches bought for the Art Museum of Toronto. He has said to me privately that he wished to keep the best of Tom’s work for the Museum here and he has already picked out, if I remember rightly, 20 sketches for the museum here. […]

Truly yours,
James MacCallum

Source: Library Archives Canada/Bibliotheque et Archives Canada, MG30 D284 'Tom Thomson collection', Vol. 1 File 7, Dr. James MacCallum, Letter to T. J. Harkness, May 6, 1918

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