Tom Thomson was born near Claremont in Ontario. During his short but important career as a landscape painter, he captured a sense of Canada’s wilderness that had never been seen before his time. Beginning in 1912, Thomson explored the world of nature in places like Algonquin Park and along the Oxtongue River.
Tom Thomson drowned in a canoeing accident in 1917, but even after his death, Tom’s brief but brilliant artistic career had a major impact on the future works of the Group of Seven, formed in 1920. A.Y. Jackson said of Tom Thomson, “he found beauty everywhere, and he did more than anyone else to bring a realization of that beauty to his countrymen.”
Tom once made this very modest statement about his efforts to capture Canada’s wilderness: “The maples are about all stripped of leaves now, but the birches are very rich in color…the best I can do does not do the place much justice in the way of beauty.”
The essence of the beauty that Tom Thomson found in the wilderness can be seen in the hundreds of paintings he created before his death.
Among them is one, “Northern River”, which many believe was sketched along the Oxtongue River in 1914. Today, that work of art hangs in the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.