A reminder of Gordon “Kit” Thorne

kit-thorne-livingroom

That’s Gordon “Kit” Thorne (1898-1981) in the middle, moustache, goatee and bolo tie, looking very much the artist. He was over at our place for Christmas. Vancouver, 1966. That’s Kit’s son Peter to his left and left again, my brother Jack. On the ladies side, my sister Joni and mother Helen on the far right. What? Helen on the far right? Never!

Helen went on painting excursions with Kit for years. She considered him an early mentor. He was one of the rare individuals who managed to make a living with his brush. No mean feat in the sleepy cultural backwater that was mid-20th century Vancouver. He did watercolours and oils, but his brush also went to work on commercial murals and window signs. His Christmas gift to us was a big Santa scene painted on our picture window.

I’m happy to see Kit’s work getting some attention now. He earned it.

Here’s an auction search that will show you some of his stuff. More “Kit” photos…

kit-thorne-xmas-window
One of Kit’s Christmas windows for our house. This one was in 1967. It’s painted on the inside. of course, so all in reverse, including the layering of paints.

kit-and-helen-out-sketching

The two artists out sketching… in better weather.

4 thoughts on “A reminder of Gordon “Kit” Thorne

  1. There’s a pretty good chance you didn’t read all of the linked Gordon “Kit” Thorne story, so I’ll point out a bittersweet part. The “Kit” in his name was a pet name for his first, dearly loved wife Kate. When she died at an early age, during a tragic still birth, her devastated husband took up her pet name and inserted it into his own.

  2. In the background there is a painting of the swans on Pender Island lake.
    Les kept this painting. He really liked it.So, it’s in Creston BC.

  3. Hello….in my downsizing efforts I have discovered some small paintings by Gordon Kit Thorne – obtained from a sale at Vancouver Public Library in 1973.
    2 x 2″ x 9.5″ – flowers; 1 x 4.5″ x 11.5″ flowers – also have a picture of Kit Thorne from Vancouver newspaper showing him at public library.

    Joanne Dunn
    New Westminster, B.C.

    • Hi, Joanne. Thank you for leaving a comment and congratulations on turning up your Kit Thornes. I knew him personally, although I was just a kid. Kit was a good artist … very skilled and a constant worker. We have some small examples, too, and the more I look at them, the most I appreciate what he could do, often with a few flicks of his brush. His powers of observation were keen and his knowledge quite deep.

      Kit was “old school” when 1950s Vancouver was desperately trying to shake off its backwater past, so he really didn’t get the appreciation his career deserves (my opinion).

      Even though you are downsizing, your finds aren’t large. Perhaps its time to give them fresh frames and appreciate them anew.

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