Franklin Carmichael was born in Orillia, Ont. in 1890. He moved to Toronto to attend the Ontario College of Art and Design where he studied with academically trained painters such as William Cruickshank and George Reid.
Carmichael befriended Tom Thomson, accompanying him on weekend sketching trips and eventually the two shared a studio space. Carmichael was a founding member of both the Ontario Society of Painters in Watercolour and the Canadian Group of Painters, and taught at his alma mater from 1932 until his death in 1945.
Carmichael was a member of the Group of Seven – a collective of landscape painters, active from 1920 to 1933, whose works became closely linked to Canadian nationalism.
The Group's paintings were acclaimed as the first distinctly Canadian modernist art movement, and depicted the majesty of the forests, lakes and mountain peaks of the Canadian Shield region.
The members of the Group believed that by representing Canada's rugged wilderness with bold colours, stylized shapes and gestural brushstrokes, they could break from European conventions of painting and imbue their works with an essentially Canadian spirit.