Macdonald, Thoreau, 1901-1989

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Macdonald, Thoreau, 1901-1989

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Thoreau MacDonald (1901–1989) was a Canadian artist, book illustrator and art editor. Son of Harriet Joan Lavis and Group of Seven painter J.E.H. MacDonald, he was born outside Toronto and named for American transcendentalist author Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862). Largely self-taught, Thoreau MacDonald worked with his father to develop his artistic ability. His prints and drawings are chiefly in black and white owing to colour blindness. He never married. Thoreau MacDonald’s working career was spent for the most part at the Ryerson Press and Canadian Forum magazine, for which he produced hundreds of drawings and linocuts. In 1933 he became a founding member of the Canadian Group of Painters. He was especially regarded for his prints and drawings of subjects from nature. In the late 1930s he founded the Woodchuck Press in Thornhill, Ont. to produce bookplates and labels along with illustrated publications. Thoreau MacDonald died in Toronto in 1989. His work is in the collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Hart House at the University
of Toronto, the McMichael Collection and the National Gallery of Canada.


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Revised 2 November 2018


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