From an exhibitions perspective, Johnston had long wanted to go his own way – which was in keeping with his energetic, ambitious and strong-willed character. In Winnipeg, he spearheaded the largest show the city had ever seen. Johnston’s career in the post-Group years also led to work with department store art galleries. In 1927, he changed his name from Frank to “Franz.”
Over the years, a clear shift in the style of Johnston’s art is evident. His earlier works express a strong decorative interpretation of the landscape. His later pieces evoke much greater realism, revealing his strong fascination with the qualities of light. Johnston died in 1949 and is buried in the cemetery on the McMichael grounds.
Frank Johnston (1888–1949), Sunset in the Bush, c. 1918, oil on canvas, 102.2 x 78.9 cm, Gift of the Paul Rodrik Estate, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 1987.6.2