In a 1928 letter from Clarence Gagnon to Eric Brown, the first director of the National Gallery of Canada, Gagnon proclaimed,
“He [Richard] will become a greater artist than Tom Thomson. He ignored the art schools, because after a month here, he could draw better than any of the masters who were teaching him. […] The “call of the wild” is getting the best of him, and he has made up his mind to return to the Barren Lands where he came from, to resume his trapper’s life and to paint what he had been dreaming of for years up in the Delta of the Mackenzie. […] I’ll be damn mistaken if he doesn’t turn out a greater artist than Tom Thomson, I wish you will keep in touch with him so that we may see some of his things on exhibition."