Portrait of Thornhill artist to be auctioned

Rare Tom Thomson painting expected to fetch at least $200,000

Daydreaming, a century-old portrait by Canadian legend Tom Thomson capturing a wistful moment for young Thoreau MacDonald, is currently up for auction with the Consignor Canadian Fine Art Gallery in Toronto. The portrait is already a rare find for art lovers, but the painting also contains a special local connection — MacDonald was a resident of Thornhill along with his father, Group of Seven member J. E. H. MacDonald.

The MacDonalds resided in a home near Yonge Street and Centre Street. “They took up residence there to paint,” said Sharona Adamowicz-Clements, curator at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Vaughan, which holds many of the MacDonald paintings. Their former property, now owned by the City of Vaughan, featured a four-acre garden depicted in some of J. E. H. MacDonald’s work.

“He has a painting called The Tangled Gardens, along with a few paintings and sketches of his garden,” she said.

Consignor estimates that the work was painted between 1913 and 1915, making the younger MacDonald depicted in the picture to be a young teen at the time. Lydia Abbott, managing director of Consignor, said the painting was a testament to the friendship that the artists shared.

“The painting itself reveals the close relationship between Thomson and the MacDonald family,” said Abbott. “It really is quite rare because it’s a portrait.” Thomson was known mainly for his landscapes of rural Ontario.

This is the first time the painting has been up for action in about two decades. The online auction is set to wrap up on Nov. 29, and Abbott hopes that this will set a record in the Canadian art world.

“The artwork is valued at about $200,000 to $250,000,” said Abbott. “The current record for Canadian artwork sold online is about $220,000. The fact that it’s a local painter helps.”

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