Importance of Thomson’s Art

[ The Drive ]

The Drive, Tom Thomson, 1916, Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, MSAC UG900.134, This painting depicts men 'piking' logs through a chute in a dam. "The Drive" may be an unfinished, large work of Thomson's, or he may have intentionally left significant areas of the wood he was painting on showing through. This work is an Ontario Agricultural College purchase with funds raised by students, faculty and staff, 1926

Tom Thomson is recognized across Canada as an important artist, even though he was only active as a ‘creative’ painter for about five years. While he had not sold many works by the time of his death, his reputation quickly began to grow soon thereafter.

These documents will give you an indication of how Thomson’s reputation was transformed from that of a ‘struggling artist’ to ‘national icon’ after his death. Of course, this transformation was built on the contributions of many people. Did ideas about Thomson’s death support or challenge efforts to elevate Thomson’s stature as an important artist?


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