Thomson, Thomas John
Autumn, Algonquin Park
Although Tom Thomson drowned in 1917, three years before the Group of Seven came into being, he was a central figure in the development of its artistic vision during the formative years. Thomson met the artists who would form the Group of Seven while working as a commercial artist in Toronto early in the twentieth century. Thomson was an accomplished woodsman and was instrumental in introducing his fellow painters to their subject - the Canadian wilderness landscape - during sketching trips to Algonquin Park. For Thomson, canoeing, camping, fishing and appreciating the balances of nature was innate. He introduced his Toronto friends to their "great adventure" and in fruitful exchange, they instructed him as an artist. He is integral to the story of the Group of Seven.Autumn, Algonquin Park is painted on one of Thomson's typical, small panels that could be carried easily in the woods. On it he recorded the autumn scene in broad strokes of bright colour. Typically, one sees through a screen of foreground trees to the woods beyond. Sketches such as these have become icons of the northern landscape to generations of Canadians.