FRANK HANS JOHNSTON, O.S.A., A.R.C.A.
SPRING - LAURENTIAN SIDE ROAD
oil on masonite
24 ins x 34 ins; 61 cms x 86.4 cms
It is a mistake to downplay the illustrative body of work made by Franz Johnston, including works such as the masterfully rendered Laurentian Side Road, in order to favour the Group period pictures, exclusively. While the earlier works are indisputably important and rare, there is also value in what followed and the workmanship found in these paintings is unparalleled.
It is worthwhile to consider these later works in light of Johnston’s extraordinary popularity sustained over decades. It is largely these works which solidified his reputation. Johnston enjoyed telling the stories of farm life in the Wyebridge area and people seemed hungry for these picturesque genre scenes, unbothered as they are by modernist principles.
Roger Burford Mason, A Grand Eye for Glory: The Life of Franz Johnston, Dundurn Press, Toronto, 1998.
Private Collection, Toronto