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HTAL Spring Series Poster

Tom Thomson? The Art of Authentication

Part of Hamilton Third Age Learning’s Spring Lecture Series

How do we know with certainty if a painting is by the hand of an artist?

What steps must we take to prove or disprove the authenticity of artworks?

Using two works that might be by famed Canadian artist Tom Thomson as a case study, we’ll walk through the various questions asked and raised in the authentication process. A painting’s signature, subject matter, materials, technique, and provenance are all pieces of a nuanced puzzle that guides us through this kind of work.

For a curator, authentication is one of the most exciting and intriguing elements of our job. It is part art historical research, part investigative journalism, and lots of close looking; and it can be as infuriating as it is satisfying.

Tobi Bruce Headshot

Tobi Bruce is Head of Exhibitions and Collections and Chief Curator at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. With over thirty years’ experience, Tobi has curated over 70 exhibitions, lectured and published extensively, and spoken at conferences nationally and internationally.

Notable exhibitions and publications include Tom Thomson? The Art of Authentication; The Artist Herself: Self-Portraits by Canadian Historical Women Artists; Into the Light: The Paintings of William Blair Bruce; The French Connection: Canadian Painters at the Paris Salons, and William Kurelek: The Messenger.

She has taught Canadian Art at McMaster University and sat as a Board member with the international Association of Art Museum Curators, and Ontario Association of Art Galleries.