Franklin Carmichael

Franklin Carmichael
Born May 4, 1890
Orillia, Ontario, Canada
Died October 24, 1945 (at age 55)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Movement Group of Seven
Field Painting
Works View Complete Works

Franklin Carmichael (1890-1945) was a Canadian artist, best known for being the youngest of the Group of Seven. This was a collective of landscape artists from Canada who relied on close contact with the natural environment to attempt to create a specifically Canadian artistic style. Carmichael himself was never a core member of the group, perhaps because of his youth.

Personal life

Carmichael was born in the small Ontario town of Orillia. While still living with his family, he took a job in the carriage shop owned by his father, but in 1911, he moved to Toronto to study art. After a period of attendance at the Central Technical School, he moved on to the Ontario College of Art, where he would later teach. He then became an employee of two commercial art companies, before moving to Belgium to study further. However, his European education was cut short by the outbreak of World War I, and he returned to Canada, where he married and remained for the rest of his life.

Artistic style

Craftsmanship and technique were important to Carmichael, but he never allowed the more lyrical aspects of his painting to become submerged. In his early works, he tended to produce paintings which emphasized large, flat areas of color to create a tapestry-like appearance. However, as his career progressed, creating an impression of depth and space became more of a feature. Carmichael was interested in watercolors at a time when this form of painting was considered old-fashioned, although his wide range of skills allowed him to succeed in other areas such as graphic design.

Notable artworks

Carmichael’s important paintings date from the late 1920s and 1930s. They tend to depict natural landscapes, set in areas of wilderness. Many, such as Light and Shadow in 1937 show the Le Cloche region in which he later had a summer home. Carmichael’s 1929 watercolor, Lone Lake, showing a vivid blue body of water against a verdant, mountainous backdrop, sold for more than $300,000 in a major auction in Toronto in May 2012. He also produced some notable commercial illustrations, providing the cover art for a 1928 edition of the well-known Canadian magazine, Maclean’s.