Biography of Franklin CARMICHAEL

Franklin Carmichael



Franklin Carmichael was born in 1890 in Orillia in Ontario. His introduction to art occurred when he worked as a carriage decorator in his father’s shop in Orillia, Ontario. In 1911, he moved to Toronto and was employed as a designer at Grip Ltd., where he met Tom Thomson and other artists who would later form the Group of Seven. Encouraged by Arthur Lismer and F.H. Varley, Carmichael travelled to Antwerp, Belgium, in 1913 to study at the Royal Academy of Art. With the outbreak of the First World War, he returned to Canada, resuming his career as a commercial artist, teacher and highly acclaimed designer and illustrator.

Carmichael, the youngest member of the Group of Seven artists, frequently accompanied the Group on sketching trips to northern Ontario, but he sought his own innovations in his response to the land. He died in 1945 in Toronto.



Through the sensitive and versatile medium of watercolour, Carmichael captured the breadth and brightness of the wide-open spaces flickering with light and shadow.



For Carmichael, watercolour was a medium “ capable of responding to the slightest variation of effect or mood…clean-cut, sharp, delicate and forceful or subtle, brilliant or sombre”.


Source: Anne Newlands, Canadian art from its beginnings to 2000, Firefly books, Canada, 2000

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