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

Two iconic Canadian paintings brought together side by side

On view at the National Gallery of Canada Until January 4, 2015

OTTAWA, June 25, 2014 /CNW/ - As part of its series Masterpiece in Focus, the National Gallery of Canada presents Tom  Thomson: The Jack Pine and The West Wind. On view until January 4, 2015, this exhibition sponsored by Heffel Fine Art Auction House is organized by the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

The exhibition brings together two large canvases painted during Thomson's last winter: The Jack Pine and The West Wind. Both paintings have been recently restored and are now as close to their original appearance as possible. The Jack Pine underwent conservation treatment in late 2011 and The West Wind was treated more recently.

Both iconic images, the paintings seem to represent the grandeur and beauty of a uniquely Canadian environment: vast, elementally sublime, dazzling, isolated.

Thomson, who died by drowning in early July 1917, 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.

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 the viewer with a sense of the complexities of recording nature in paint, then transforming these impressions into monumental masterpieces.

Tom Thomson (1877 - 1917)
Tom Thomson's landscape paintings in oil created an enduring image of the Ontario North. His art both reflected and reinforced developing Canadian nationalism. Although he was associated with the Group of Seven, he was not a member. His early death helped make him an iconic figure.

After a brief business career in Seattle, Thomson became a Toronto commercial artist in 1905. He began painting in 1911, and (with the support of Dr. James MacCallum) became a full-time artist in 1913. Thomson first visited Algonquin Park in 1911, and worked there as a wilderness guide. He sketched mostly in the spring or summer, wintering in Toronto where he worked his sketches up into larger canvases. By late 1915, Thomson's approach to landscape painting was more imagination-based. He often sought some natural feature corresponding to his pre-existing ideas, or painted landscapes in his Toronto studio from memory. Thomson's design experience permeates his late canvases, which feature stylized tree branches and flat areas of strong colour (The Jack Pine, 1916-1917). The National Gallery of Canada owns many of Thomson's sketches, as well as the larger paintings he made from them. Thomson drowned in Canoe Lake in 1917. To know more about the artist, read his biography on the Gallery's website.

Art From Above
Daily in July and August from 11 am to 4 pm, families are invited to take part in making a massive fabric copy of The Jack Pine on the floor of the Great Hall.

Saturday November 29, 2014 at 2 pm. Screening of the film West Wind: The Vision of Tom Thomson (2011) by Michèle Hozer and Peter Raymont. In the Lecture Hall. In English. Free admission.

To learn more about the activities surrounding the exhibition, visit

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Included with admission to the NGC Collection. Adults: $12; Seniors and full-time students: $10; youth aged 12-19: $6; families (two adults and three youth): $24. Admission is free for children under the age of 12 and for Members. Free admission Thursdays between 5 pm and 8 pm and on the following dates: Tuesday July 1st,  2014 (Canada Day), Sunday July 6, 2014 (Canada History Week), Sunday September 28,  2014 (Culture Days), and Tuesday November 11, 2014 (Remembrance Day). For more information: 613.998.8888 or 1.888.541.8888.

Until October 1st, the NGC is open Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm, and Thursdays until 8 pm. For more information call 613-990-1985 or 1-800-319-ARTS.

About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains Canada's premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st century, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. To do so, it maintains an extensive touring art exhibition programme. For more information:

SOURCE: National Gallery of Canada

For further information:

For media only
Josée-Britanie Mallet
Senior Media and Public Relations Officer
National Gallery of Canada

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