Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Franz Hans “Frank” Johnston (1888-1949)


Born at Toronto, Ontario in 1888, the son of Irish immigrants, he joined Grip Limited in 1907 and subsequently studied art in both Toronto and the United States. He was an official war artist in 1917-1918, painting scenes in training camps, and for his work was granted associate status in the Royal Canadian Academy. He subsequently became a member of the Group of Seven, which he left in 1924. From 1921 to 1924 he served as Principal and teacher at the Winnipeg School of Art, and then he taught at the Ontario College of Art. He moved to full-time painting in 1930, although he also opened a summer school of painting in the Ontario wilderness. After the 1920s, Johnston was less popular with the critics and the art establishment than he was with the public, who seemed to appreciate his Canadian scenes and bought them on a regular basis. He died on 9 July 1949 and was re-interred in the 1960s with the other members of the Group of Seven at the McMichael Canadian art collection.


Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

“Digging up history,” Brandon Sun, Thursday 31 July 2008.

The page was prepared by Angela Graham and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 13 February 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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