Tom Thomson (1877–1917) is indisputably Canada’s preeminent modern painter, an artist whose unprecedented brilliance blazed the trail for the formation of the Group of Seven in the wake of his tragic death in 1917 at Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park. This exhibition offers a close look at Thomson’s legacy, focusing on the oil sketch, of which he is the supreme master. Bringing together an unparalleled selection of artworks from the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and the National Gallery of Canada, as well as a host of other Canadian museums and private collections, Tom Thomson: North Star presents a rare opportunity to access a comprehensive view of Thomson’s oeuvre. An account of the artist fit for the 21st century, this retrospective exhibition isolates key moments of Thomson’s artistic experimentation, explores his evolving public persona as the quintessential outdoorsman and considers his oeuvre within the framework of the international art of his time.
This exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated colour catalogue featuring essays by curators Ian A.C. Dejardin and Sarah Milroy, Algonquin historian Christine McRae Luckasavitch and historian and artist Douglas Hunter, as well as appreciations by contemporary artists Ben Reeves, Sandra Meigs and Zachari Logan.
Organized and circulated by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection with the exceptional support of the National Gallery of Canada. Curated by Ian A.C. Dejardin and Sarah Milroy. Supported by the Government of Canada / Avec l’appui du gouvernement du Canada. Sponsored by Heffel.
Ian A.C. Dejardin served as Executive Director of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection from 2017–2023. Previously he served as Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, UK, until 2017, having held from 1998 to 2005 the position of Curator of that gallery’s permanent collection of European Old Master paintings. While at Dulwich, Dejardin curated Henry Moore at Dulwich Picture Gallery (2004); Painting Canada: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven (2011); Emily Carr: From the Forest to the Sea (2014); and Vanessa Bell (2017), the latter two exhibitions in collaboration with Sarah Milroy, with whom he also curated David Milne: Modern Painting (2018), and Into the Light: Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald (2019). He has recently curated A Like Vision: The Group of Seven at 100 (2020–22), and Conversations: Masterworks from the McMichael Canadian Art Collection (2022–24).