Frank H. Johnston

In the Gully c.1920,

Gouache on paperboard
6.75 x 7.75 in

Ex. Private collection, Calgary
 
From 1918 to 1921 Johnston was close friends with and painting companion to Lawren Harris and J.E.H. MacDonald. Johnston accompanied his fellow artists on the famous “Boxcar” trips to Algoma in the fall of 1918 and 1919 and exhibited with the Group of Seven in their first show in 1920. 
By 1921 Johnston felt that he could forge a path on his own, having had better sales at his solo exhibitions than he did with the Group. The camaraderie and critical discourse of the artists of the Group of Seven was highly influential in Johnston’s work, but not so much as to influence his work to be similar to theirs; conversely, Johnston sought stylistic independence. He wanted his work to be discernable from that of the others. And so, in 1921, he left Toronto for Winnipeg to become the Principal at the Winnipeg School of Art.