CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Harold Town and David P. Silcox

Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1989 (1977). 240pp, cloth, $60.00
ISBN 0-7710-8486-2. CIP

Grades 6 and up/Ages 11 and up
Reviewed by Gary Robertson.

Volume 18 Number 2
1990 March

Tom Thomson was a true folk hero and Canadian legend. His energetic and inventive painting style helped bring Canadian art out of European shadows into the sparkling daylight of the twentieth century. This book is a tribute to that legend. Although Tom Thomson was first printed twelve years ago, this reprinting is a testimonial to the book's quality and appeal.

We can only speculate on what artistic treasures would exist had Tom Thomson not died in a boating accident at the age of forty. He had only been painting his woodland scenes seriously for about five years. Yet in this time he produced hundreds of works that display a bold palette and a daring brush. Also, his friendship with J.E.H. MacDonald, A.Y. Jackson and Lawren Harris laid the foundation for the future Group of Seven.

This book has 177 beautiful colour reproductions, which survey the medi­ocre to the masterpiece. With the ac­companying text we can understand Thomson's development as an artist in his struggle to paint landscape in a truly unique, Canadian way. The joy of this book also lies in the refreshing insights and research, which help to clear away the cloud of enigmatic fiction of Thom­son's life and death. The human qualities of the man are contrasted with the exceptional depth and vision of his paintings.

This book is a celebration of the art of Tom Thomson, one of Canada's most important artists. Every library and every artist should own a copy.

Gary Robertson, Thorn Collegiate, Regina, Sask.
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