"He continues to get better with each passing year. No small feat in such a long career. That is not to say that there are not ups and downs in Tom's works as there are with all artists; only that he refuses to stand still, but sees each thing that he does as a challenge." Virgil Hammock, in Tom Forrestall: Paintings, Drawings, Writings / Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, June 14 to November 2008

Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia website:


Thomas DeVany Forrestall, C.M., O.C., O.N.S., B.F.A. LL.D., R.C.A was born in Middleton Nova Scotia, in 1936. Forrestall's family later moved to Dartmouth which allowed him to attend Saturday morning art classes at the Nova Scotia College of Art in Halifax in the 1940s. In 1954, Forrestall was awarded a scholarship to the Fine Arts department at Mount Allison University, where he studied with Lawren P. Harris and Alex Colville. He graduated in 1958, and received one of the first Canada Council grants for independent study, which provided him with the opportunity to travel throughout Europe. Upon his return he became assistant curator of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. He has been a freelance artist since 1960.


Forrestall's art has been classified as Magic Realism - an imprecise term often used to describe the work of a coterie of east-coast Canadian painters who emerged after the Second World War, including Alex Colville, Christopher Pratt and Mary Pratt. Although their geographic roots, styles and vocabularies were similar, these artists applied themselves differently, each adapting naturalism in a personal way.


As an artist, Tom Forrestall is one of the leading figures associated with the visual arts of the Maritime region. His work has been exhibited and represented in every major public collection in the region and beyond, as well as in solo exhibitions in many prominent galleries worldwide. His art has been reproduced in numerous histories of Canadian art and is featured in High Realism in Canada, the 1974 book by Paul Duval. Two monographs on his paintings have been published, Shaped by This Land (1974) and Returning the Favour: Vision for Vision (1992).


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