The Land Before Tom

Selections from the Permanent Collection before 1912

2012 is the 100th anniversary of Tom Thomson’s first visit to Algonquin Park.

In his short career, Tom Thomson changed the way we look at painting in Canada, and to some degree the way we look at Canada itself.

This survey of historical paintings shed light on both the holdings of the Tom Thomson Art Gallery permanent collection as well as present examples of painting in Canada before the influence of Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven, who did so much to change painting in Canada.

The works on view show the strong influence of the European tradition of landscape painting, particularly the Barbizon school of painting. It was in this tradition that Thomson and members of the Group of Seven would have been trained in. The Barbizon school focused on naturalism and realism in the depiction of nature. Thomson’s break away from this tradition is seen in the emotive and experiential content of his works.