Art Brokerage: Frank Johnston Canadian Artist: b. 1888-1949. Frank Johnston (June 19, 1888 – July 19, 1949) was a Canadian artist associated with the Group of Seven. Frank (Franz) Johnston was born in Toronto and like many other Group members, he joined Grip Ltd. as a commercial artist. Although his official association with the Group of Seven was brief, his friendship with the artists dated back over a much longer period. He did exhibit in the exhibition of 1920, but by 1921 he had left Toronto to become Principal at the Winnipeg School of Art. His paintings from those years express a strong decorative interpretation of the landscape. In later years, the artist's style became more realistic and revealed a strong fascination with the qualities of light. His landscape paintings became very full of images reflected on water. In 1927, Johnston changed his name to the more exotic title of `Franz' Johnston. He painted over 250 paintings in his entire career. Johnston did not use the techniques of Harris and MacDonald but, employing tempera rather than oil paint, he searched out the pattern and texture of his subject. Johnston exhibited with The Group of Seven only once, in their first show at the Art Gallery of Toronto (now the Art Gallery of Ontario) in May 1920. Johnston's rate of production was such that 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 Winnipeg School of Art. There he held the largest show ever seen in that city. He had been slowly moving away from the Group 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. When Johnston left The Group, he turned more to working for department store art galleries, concerning himself with decorative effects, which he constantly sought out. Johnston's style became increasingly realistic throughout his life, evincing a particular fascination for the qualities of light reflected from snow. This theme recurred in later works, in large narrative paintings of the 1930s and 1940s as well as more intimate examinations of a river valley, the bright blue of the water bending between snow-laden banks. His subjects range from the pastoral countryside of the Wyebridge area, northern Quebec, and the Northwest Territories. He had begun in the 1920s to hold regular solo exhibitions and his paintings found a great following among the public. He taught at the Ontario College of Art during the 1920s. He was made a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. He died in Toronto in 1949 and buried with his fellow artists at McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario.Read More +
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