Monday, September 3, 2007

Frank Johnston (1888-1949)

Sierra Club


Frank Johnston was the only member of the Group of Seven who did not retain his membership throughout the years the Group of Seven existed. This Toronto born artist also worked briefly for Grip Ltd. Johnston started at the Grip in 1908 and then moved on to work for Rous and Mann Printing House. In 1910 he went to the United States. Johnston first studied art in Philadelphia and then did commercial work in New York. Before and after his return to Canada, Johnston was an eager participant in Group activities. A member of the Arts and Letters Club, he was a friend of both MacDonald and Harris. He went on all the Algoma trips except the last. A man of staggering energy and enthusiasm, he also had an amazing rate of production. In the 1919 Algoma show he contributed sixty works - more than any other artist. A few months later, he extended his independence even more, having a large one-man show of 200 paintings at the T. Eaton Company Galleries. In the fall of 1921, Johnston left Toronto to accept the position as principal of the School of Art in Winnipeg. There he held the largest show ever seen in that city. He had been slowly moving away from the Group of Seven movement, and now the break was complete. In 1924, he announced his official resignation, claiming that he had no disagreement with the Group, only that he wanted to go his own way with regards to exhibitions. This was certainly in keeping with the character of this energetic, ambitious and strong willed man. When Johnston left The Group of Seven, he turned more to working for department store art galleries. Unfortunately, his work lost its earlier fresh vitality and became more decorative. He was a superb craftsman, but was mainly concerned with decorative effects, which he consciously sought out. [Adapted from Canadian Government Group of Seven Web Site]


Please browse our Amazon list of titles about the Group of Seven. For rare and hard to find works we recommend our Alibris list of titles about the Group of Seven.


Powerpoint: The Road to Expressionism
Logos Group of Seven Art Gallery
COPAC UK: Frank Johnston
Library of Canada: Frank Johnston
Library of Congress: Frank Johnston
Books from Alibris: Group of Seven

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