Franz Johnston

Canadian, Groupe of Seven, RCA

Frank Johnston was a 20th-century Canadian painter born on June 19, 1888 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is best known as a member of the famous Group of Seven, a collective of Canadian painters who redefined Canadian art in the early 20th century.

Johnston studied at the Central Technical School in Toronto and continued his artistic training at the Art Students League in New York, USA. He also studied at the Académie Julian in Paris, France, where he was exposed to various European artistic movements.

Back in Canada, Johnston was a founding member of the Group of Seven in 1920, along with other renowned Canadian artists such as A.Y. Jackson, Lawren Harris, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald, Franklin Carmichael, and later A.J. Casson. Together, they sought to create a uniquely Canadian art, with a focus on depicting Canada’s landscapes.

Johnston’s works were characterized by vivid and expressive colours, energetic application of painting, and particular attention to the effects of light. He was often drawn to Canada’s northern landscapes, particularly the regions of Ontario and Quebec. His paintings captured the beauty and grandeur of Canadian landscapes, highlighting the power and majesty of nature.

Beyond his work with the Group of Seven, Johnston also taught at the Winnipeg School of Art and influenced many emerging artists. He has been active in promoting Canadian art and has participated in numerous exhibitions in Canada and abroad.

Johnston left the Group of Seven in 1924 to pursue an individual career, but he continued to paint and exhibit his works. He has explored different styles and techniques throughout his career, from impressionism to realism and abstraction.

Frank Johnston passed away on July 19, 1949 in Toronto, leaving behind an important artistic legacy. His paintings continue to be appreciated for their contributions to Canadian art and for their eloquent depiction of Canada’s landscapes. His work has helped shape the country’s artistic identity and has played a vital role in the evolution of Canadian art in the 20th century.


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