Group of Seven Artist – Franklin Carmichael July 27, 2019
Franklin Carmichael was born May 4th, 1890 in Orillia, Ontario. And he remained there until his 20th birthday, when his interest in art led him to Toronto and into the Ontario College of Art. There he studied with two other noted painters: William Cruickshank and George Reid.
His Early Years
Group of Seven
Following his studies, he took an apprenticeship at the Grip advertising agency, where he met Tom Thomson, Arthur Lismer, J. E. MacDonald and Frederick Varley. Soon thereafter, together with Lawren Harris and other painters he had met at Grip, Carmichael founded the Canadian group of painters that would come to be known as the Group of Seven.
On weekends, the group would travel to the countryside to sketch the landscape. Although he worked with oils as well, Carmichael’s preferred medium was watercolor. Stylistically, he typically incorporated a much softer color palette than did others in the group. In fact, just a few years later, in 1925, along with Canadian painters A.J. Casson and F. H. Brigden, Carmichael founded the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Color. And it is his watercolors for which he is primarily known today.
His Teaching Years
In 1932, Carmichael left the Grip agency to take a teaching job at the Ontario College of Art, where he became head of the Commercial and Graphics Art Department. Carmichael’s interest and reputation in the commercial arts became highly acclaimed. But also, for the same reason, he was, sometimes considered by his peers to be a less ‘serious’ artist compared to others in the group. However, the quality and innovation of his work speaks for itself. And his greatest contribution as a Canadian artist was in reviving interest in the art of waterolor painting. Franklin Carmichael passed away on October 24th, 1945.