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The Opening of the Rivers by Thomson

  • One of a collection of four Tom Thomson re-creations available, this sketch tells another story of the artists adventures painting Algonquin Provincial Park over 100 years ago.
    Read the story behind the painting >

    • Certified Limited Edition of 350 total. 300 North America, 50 Museum 
    • Verus Art re-creations are printed on premium aluminum panels using the highest quality archival inks
    • Re-creation size (HxW): 21.8 x 26.8 cm (8.6 x 10.5")
  • Choose from three carefully selected frame options, which have been selected to complement the Tom Thomson collection. The museum selected frame represents the era of the original sketches. Choose your frame >
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Opening of the Rivers, by Tom Thomson Painting Close Up


Tom Thomson prepared this board with a layer of lean, pale ochre paint. Perhaps in response to the weather, he glazed this bright under-layer with a thin, dark oil wash to produce a tone similar to the birch panels he would come to use more frequently the following year. The wash would have made the surface less absorbent, and was still wet at the time the sketch was made, which would have led to fast, fluid painting.

Thomson typically began sketches by setting the principal forms with a thin brush, usually starting with the most complex structural element of the composition, which clearly drew him. After roughing in the tree he would have then began to paint the swollen river, working from the far bank to near, before working up to the edges of the tree, with mostly horizontal brush strokes. Finally, he worked on the far bank and the sky before putting in the foreground and reworking the tree trunk and branches.



Tom Thomson

Born in Ontario in 1877, Tom Thomson was arguably the most popular and most influential Canadian artist of the early twentieth century, and widely  acknowledged as an inspiration for what became the  Group of Seven.

 Thomson's sketches appear frank and spontaneous, but they are deliberate, considered objects. Simply choosing a painting spot, where to sit, and setting the height of a horizon involves composition and design decisions. The choice of support, its smoothness and preparation, and even air temperature all have a bearing on how easily the paint adhered, and which size and type of brush would produce which effect – these factors all influence the appearance of the sketch.

Canada’s landscape was the focus of his career, capturing transient moments of light and atmosphere, rapidly sketching in oil as he explored his way around Algonquin Park and other areas of natural beauty. In some cases, he would develop these sketches into full-blown celebrations of nature.




Add your own finishing touch to your Thomson re-creation with a choice of three high quality Larson-Juhl frames:

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