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Studies for prints: Campfire and Snowberries

Franklin Carmichael
A collection of 229 watercolours, drawings and sketchbooks, 1908-1945
Studies for prints: Campfire and Snowberries, c. 1934
Graphite on cream wove paper
27.9 x 21.6 cm
Gift of Mary and Richard Mastin, Toronto, 1997

This collection of works on paper represents the final stage in a series of purchases and gifts from Franklin Carmichael's daughter Mary Carmichael Mastin and her husband Richard Mastin. With this important gift, the National Gallery has a very detailed and thorough representation of Carmichael's work, comparable to our holdings for other Group of Seven members and their contemporaries, such as David Milne, L.L. FitzGerald and Carl Schaefer.

Franklin Carmichael, a founding member of the Group of Seven, was also a notable commercial designer and art teacher. He was a prime instigator of a revival of watercolour in 20th-century Canadian art. The Mastin gift includes a selection of 32 watercolours covering his entire career, from his early efforts in 1913 and 1914 to his vigorous return to the medium in 1924, when he created a watercolour style for Canadian artists that aligned with the aesthetic of the Group of Seven, which was transforming Canadian painting.

The remaining contents of this gift comprise sketchbooks and drawings, which trace Carmichael's career as both a designer and a painter. His field drawings follow his regular sketching trips to small Ontario towns and villages, especially including many drawings of his beloved La Cloche Region on Lake Superior, which became his summer home from the late 1920s. All these drawings demonstrate that Carmichael was one of the most talented draughtsmen in Canadian art.