David Thompson Legacy Art Project

The David Thompson Bicentennials Legacy Art Project

The North American David Thompson Bicentennials Partnership was organized by an international group of not-for-profit interests who wanted to commemorate the character and accomplishments of David Thompson in a broad range of ways.

Partner groups in this initiative were centred in Canada, the United States and Great Britain. This heritage awareness initiative was a three-year continent-wide public and private sector partnership. It was followed by two further years of commemorations that marked the bicentennials of specific David Thompson related events, particularly, but not exclusively, in Western North America.

Although works by Paul Kane and Henry James Warre exist of some of the places Thompson explored, no collection of the kind being proposed to commemorate the life and times of David Thompson. As Thompson’s travels were undertaken before the invention of photography, no imagery exists to give life to Thompson’s remarkable stories. In a project very similar to one undertaken by Charles Fritz in commemoration of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial which is now considered an American national treasure, Joseph Cross had been invited by the North American David Thompson Bicentennials Steering Committee to create an exhibition of historically accurate, museum quality paintings depicting central events in Thompson’s remarkable life. Additionally, the project commemorated the role of women in the fur trade and exploration of the continent,including the native presence and perspective.

Parks Canada provided much needed in-kind support through access to national historical sites and several staff historians necessary for the accuracy of the paintings, as well as advice and historical information. Similar historical information was available to us from the Glenbow Museum, the Ontario Archives and the Canadian Geographic magazine, and various Canadian historians.

Several contacts were made at the March 30-April 1, 2006 David Thompson Bicentennials Launch in Edmonton. People across Canada and the U.S. came forward to help with historical information that we required. The US Army Corps of Engineers, Survey Association members, other historians and museums also expressed a willingness toprovide information, accommodation, and necessary contacts. Through our travels, the network of people involved in David Thompson projects grew.

Over the course of five years, Joseph Cross completed ten paintings related to the David Thompson story. Integral to the project was the portrayal of the role of women in the fur trade, as well as the many indigenous tribes that David encountered.

The lasting importance of this body of work resides in its significant historical legacy, which links the continent we had to the continent we have and allow viewers to imagine the continent we want in the future.

The Canmore Museum & Geoscience Centre in Canmore, Alberta, hosted the paintings as part of a larger David Thompson exhibit until summer of 2009. In June 2010 the paintings were displayed at the Jasper Yellowhead Museum in Jasper, Alberta. Images of the paintings also appear in a couple of books.

For information on the David Thompson Bicentennials Partnership and the many and varied projects, with contact information, please visit www.davidthompson200.org

“David Thompson Portaging Kootenai Falls”, Oil, 36” x 48”, framed $10,818 (Available as a fine art reproduction - click image above for details)

“David Thompson’s Prayer at Howse Pass”, Oil, 24” x 30”, SOLD.(Available as a fine art reproduction - click image above for details)

“Loder Peak Eastward is Vast and Unbounded”, Oil 18” x 36”, framed, $4,188.

“Loder Peak Like Waves of the Ocean in a Wintry Storm”, Oil, 18” x 48”, framed $5,484.

“Ilth Koy Ape Falls to the Pacific Ocean - By the Grace of God”, (known today as“Kettle Falls”) Oil, 18” x 48”, framed $5,434.

“Portage of the Mountains: Howse Pass, June 25, 1807”, Oil, 30” x 48” SOLD

"Blackfoot Trading Party: Rocky Mountain House”, Oil, 18” x 42”, framed $4,786.

“Charlotte Small & Children Crossing Near Mummery Glacier, June 1807”, Oil, 16” x 24”, SOLD.

“David Thompson Views Scott Glacier: January 1811”, Oil, 24” x 36”, framed $5,324 SOLD.

“I Can Touch the Stars”, Oil, 24” x 30”, framed $4,525.

Contact Us:

Sharon Cross, Studio Manager

Joseph Cross Art Studio

2112 - 5 St. N., Cranbrook, BC V1C 4Y3 Canada

Phone: 250-489-4412


Sharon Cross 2014