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Tom Thomson


June 8, 2024 - January 4, 2025

Tom Thomson, Big Elm, c. 1911.

Tom Thomson, Big Elm, c. 1911. Oil on paper, on board. Gallery purchase with funds from a bequest of Misses Dora and Jean Taylor, Detroit, 1974.


As one of Canada’s most recognized and celebrated artists, this exhibition explores the role that Owen Sound and surrounding areas played in Tom Thomson’s artistic growth and his emergence as a national icon. 

Thomson grew up on a farm near Leith, just northeast of Owen Sound and after apprenticing at a foundry and machine shop in Owen Sound in 1899, he left the city to further his education and seek adventure in Seattle, Washington. A few years later in 1902, his parents sold the Leith family farm, moving to a home overlooking Owen Sound on the East Hill, near the present-day site of Georgian College. Three years later, Thomson would return to Ontario and work in Toronto as a graphic designer, but he regularly visited Owen Sound to see his family and friends and in 1908, Thomson’s parents built a new house at 528 4th Avenue East, providing Thomson easy access to the Sydenham River and surrounding hills in what is now Harrison Park. The artworks he created during these visits act as key markers in tracing his artistic development.

It is from the Owen Sound region that Thomson captured family members' likenesses in early sketchbooks, recorded local scenes in line drawings using pen and ink, experimented with recording the landscape through black-and-white photography, and most importantly, transitioned from watercolour to oil painted landscapes, for which he would become famous.

This exhibition is presented through the research of David Huff, former Curator of Collections.

Exhibition sponsored by:

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808 2nd Avenue East,
Owen Sound, ON
N4K 2H4
Phone: 519-376-1440
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840 1st Ave W

Owen Sound, ON N4K 4M4

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Gallery Hours:

Monday - Saturday 10:00am - 5:00pm

Sunday 12:00pm - 4:00pm

Tom Thomson Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges our operational supporters:

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