The Mysterious Death of Tom Thomson

George A. Walker (Author)


Pays homage to Thomson's contribution to Canadian culture through both representations of author's own life and of the contemporary artistic community as a whole. This title captures the essence of Tom Thomson's artistic spirit.

Product Details

Porcupine's Quill
Publish Date
April 01, 2012
5.4 X 0.9 X 8.6 inches | 0.83 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

George A. Walker (Canadian, b. 1960) is an award-winning wood engraver, book artist, teacher, author, and illustrator who has been creating artwork and books and publishing at his private press since 1984. Walker's popular courses in book arts and printmaking at the OCAD University in Toronto, where he is Associate Professor, have been running continuously since 1985. For over twenty years Walker has exhibited his wood engravings and limited edition books internationally, often in conjunction


[Walker's account] offers readers a sense of how [Thomson's] life must have felt - from the sense of purpose of getting his work exhibited, to the more relaxed, idyllic days painting in Algonquin Park, and finally, to the altercation that preceded his death.'--Jaclyn Qua-Hiansen "Literary Treats "
A celebrated and widely recognized master of his craft, Walker's work has a rough-hewn grace and concision augmented by an uncanny ability to convey his characters' emotions with but chisel and wood, ink, and paper.'--Bill Baker "ForeWord "

George A. Walker, the talented wood engraver and book artist'', has composed "The Mysterious Death of Tom Thomson" in 109 woodblock engravings presented in a handsome volume by Porcupine's Quill. While reading Walker's wordless narrative, one becomes eerily aware of silence: wordlessness itself becomes a mode of silence, and an agent of voiceless voicing, unheard dialogue and mute interrogation. In fact, it's not easy to use words to describe what happens once you are engaged in this sequence of woodblock images: events proceed: a man, Tom Thomson, emerges as an increasingly solitary figure, slowly withdrawing from urbanity and emerging in the wilderness, where, as different versions have it (and Walker's is one of them), he meets his fate. The effect of the wordless imagery is strangely acoustic: a silence filled with echoes. The book does not want to be put down; instead the reader, the observer, re-engages again and again, returning to read into the images a story that eludes understanding just as understanding seems to elude stories without words. This is a book for the shade on a bright summer day.' --Mandelbrot "Geist "

The circumstances that surround the death and disappearance of Canadian landscape painter Tom Thomson are still unknown. Just as interesting as his mysterious death is the life of artistry that he lead.

In this beautiful book, Walker pays homage to Thomson in the most fitting way possible - through skilled artistry. Scenes from Thomson's life unfold through this rarely-used creative form. These gorgeous woodblock engravings are as intriguing as they are skillful. A good book for lovers of art and artists.'--Casey Hudson "Ehmerican Book Girl "

?Mystery, haunting images, strong emotions, one Canadian artist's tribute to another ? there's much of interest in this book. One thing you won't find, however, is a lot of text. The artist who created the book, George Walker, calls it a ?wordless narrative?, and he uses only pictures to tell the story of Tom Thomson's untimely death in 1917. It's a story that's been told many times before, and in several versions, both in print and onscreen ? although never quite like this. The book is not really a ?whodunnit?, because there is no text, and therefore no names. But clearly, according to this version, Tom did not just trip over a fishing line. The lack of specifics is actually a plus: foul play was surely a factor in Thomson's death, but naming names is tricky, and Walker's wordless narrative neatly sidesteps the need to do so.?--Jonathan Franklin "National Gallery of Canada "

In 109 black-and-white woodblock engravings, artist George A. Walker explores the life and tragically premature death of Tom Thomson (1877-1917), one of Canada's greatest and most influential artists. Walker's wordless narrative'' begins in Thomson's youth and takes us through to his years of productive work and his mysterious death by drowning in Ontario's Algonquin Park. Walker also pays homage to Thomson's influence on Canadian culture and explores his own relationship to Thomson, whom he counts as a major inspiration for his work, and coming to terms with his death. Canadian curator Tom Smart provides a quick but useful introduction, and there is a heartfelt afterword from Walker.'
[Walker's account offers readers a sense of how [Thomson's life must have felt - from the sense of purpose of getting his work exhibited, to the more relaxed, idyllic days painting in Algonquin Park, and finally, to the altercation that preceded his death.'--Jaclyn Qua-Hiansen