Franz Johnston

Canadian, Groupe of Seven, RCA

Franz Johnston

Franz Johnston, a Canadian landscape painter born in Toronto in 1888. He began his training as an apprentice-jeweler while attending evening classes at the Central Technical School and the Ontario College of Fine Arts.


In 1911, he worked for Grip Limited where he met future members of the Group of Seven, including Macdonald, Lismer and Carmicheal. For the next three years, Johnston worked as a graphic designer in Pennsylvania to return to Toronto in 1915.

In 1918, he received an order to represent life in the country during the First World War for the Canadian War Memorials Fund. He also made sketches at the Royal Canadian Air Force, sketches of aircraft in maneuver which have become for some paintings.

He began his expeditions to Algonquin Park in 1918 with his compatriots of the future Group of Seven. He participated in the first exhibition of the Group of Seven in Toronto in 1920. However, Franz Johnston quickly dissociated himself from the group by organizing first Solo exhibitions. The following year, in 1921, he was appointed Director of the Winnipeg College of Fine Arts.

In 1924, he returned to Toronto and formally dissociated himself from the group. He became a teacher at the Ontario College of Art.

He made works from landscapes of the Canadian Far North and Aboriginal peoples. The landscapes of Ontario and later, towards the end of his life, Franz Johnston's subjects became pastoral landscapes of Quebec.

He died in Toronto in 1949.


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