Artwork by Tom Thomson,  Near Owen Sound

Tom Thomson
Near Owen Sound

oil on board
6.75 x 10 ins ( 17.1 x 25.4 cms )

Auction Estimate: $140,000.00$80,000.00 - $140,000.00

Price Realized $80,500.00
Sale date: November 29th 2013

George Thomson, Owen Sound.
Dorothy Telford (daughter of George Thomson), Owen Sound.
Joyner Waddington's, auction, Toronto, November 26, 2008, lot 70.
Private Collection, Ontario.
Joan Murray, “A Treasury of Tom Thomson”, Vancouver, 2011, page 3.
Joyner Waddington's, “Canadian Art”, auction, Toronto, November 25, 2008, lot 70.
This painting will be included in Joan Murray's forthcoming catalogue raisonne of Tom Thomson's work.

Thomson art historian, Joan Murray, while discussing “Near Owen Sound”, notes that Tom Thomson's early career as a painter found him returning regularly to Owen Sound, maintaining a strong relationship with his large family. George Thomson, Tom's oldest brother, provided great encouragement as Tom's abilities continued to progress, both as a painter and a commercial artist and Tom felt great admiration towards George, a gifted artist and founder of the Acme Business College in Seattle (which Tom had attended in 1901).

During the time that “Near Owen Sound” would have been completed, Thomson had recently started work at Grip Limited Engravers in Toronto, a vocation that would not only bring him in contact with fellow artists who would help to shape and encourage his artistic life, but also introduce him to regular sketching trips throughout Ontario, bringing the artist for the first time to Algonquin Park in 1912. Murray notes that: “These trips changed the direction of Thomson's life; in the fall, the budding artist invested in his first painting kit.”

Depictions of the Owen Sound area appear regularly in Thomson's work leading to 1911 and Murray points to this painting as one of his best sketches from the period. As was quite common practice by the painter, “Near Owen Sound” would have been a gift from Thomson to his older brother. The sketch was kept in a drawer in George's home and later was passed by descent to Dorothy Telford, George's daughter. Painted at the beginning of one of Canadian art's most revered and historical artistic progressions and careers, Joan Murray offers that “Near Owen Sound” marks “the emergence of Tom Thomson as a serious painter.”

We extend our gratitude to Thomson historian, Joan Murray, for her assistance in the researching and cataloguing of this artwork.

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Tom Thomson
(1877 - 1917)

Tom Thomson was born near Claremont, Ontario and grew up in Leith, near Owen Sound. After moving to Toronto, his early career was spent as a commercial artist at Grip Ltd., the commercial design firm where he first met MacDonald, Harris, Jackson, Lismer and others. By 1911, Thomson was making regular sketching trips to areas north of Toronto and, in 1912, he made the first of many trips to Algonquin Park.

As well as being an artist, Tom Thomson was an avid outdoorsman and Algonquin Park soon became his favourite place to paint. His enthusiasm for its quiet, untouched landscape with its changing moods and bright fall colours inspired other artists to explore the region. After 1914, Tom Thomson spent most of his time painting in Algonquin, except during the coldest winter months. It was during this period that he produced the bulk of his paintings of this rugged northern landscape. Thomson's brief, but prolific, career as an artist came to a premature end when he drowned in Canoe Lake in 1917, just three years before the Group of Seven held their first exhibition. His artistic achievement was to remain an inspirational force to other Group members.