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The Thomson Collection of Canadian Paintings and First Nations Objects

Ken Thomson formed what is without doubt the most significant and important collection of Canadian art in private hands. Comprising some 700 works of art assembled over 50 years, it is distinguished by its remarkable breadth, the high quality of the individual works, and the rarity of many of its objects.

The Canadian Collection, apart from the First Nations objects, comprises three major components:

  • 19th century Canadian art, with a particular emphasis on the paintings of Cornelius Krieghoff
  • the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, with strong holdings of the work of Tom Thomson, Lawren S. Harris, J.E.H. Macdonald, David Milne and James Wilson Morrice
  • significant paintings by post-war artists Paul-Emile Borduas and William Kurelek.

First Nations objects include early, finely detailed objects such as masks, amulets, dagger hilts and combs carved from ivory which came from sperm or orca whale teeth or, more rarely, walrus tusks. They also include pieces by one of the best-known historical First Nations artists, Charles Edenshaw (1839–1920) and a number of objects acquired from the celebrated Dundas collection after Ken Thomson’s death.

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