Franz (Frank) Johnston

Crystal Weather

oil on panel
20x24 in.
$32,000 Cdn.

Loch Gallery, Calgary
Private collection

After Frank Johnston distanced himself the Group of Seven, the style of his work changed quite dramatically. As his career moved forward in the mid 1920s, his paintings moved towards a more decorative style. Around 1926, Frank Johnston changed his name to Franz at the recommendation of a peer – Franz was “more exotic”. The artist had always found praise in his ability to render light in his paintings, and his work from 1926 onward became picturesque. We see this clearly represented in the blue water, bright sky and sunlit snowy ground in Crystal Weather. These snow laden scenes would become a recurring theme for Johnston, and brought him considerable commercial success as an artist for the remainder of his career.

“In Johnston one can almost see the sound swelling into the vastness of infinity. The small panel is no restriction to the eye and one stands among the stars of timeless space. Dancing formless light, subaqueous in feeling, ephemeral as Aurora Borealis. It holds one motionless in moving space.” (1)…