Frank Porter Wood

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Frank Porter Wood - 1924.

Frank Porter Wood (29 June 1882 – 20 March 1955) was a Canadian businessman and philanthropist. He is best remembered for his many gifts and bequests of artworks to the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.

He was born in Peterborough, Ontario to Canadian immigrants of mixed parentage: his father was Irish (John W Wood) and his mother Scottish (Jane Porter). He married Emma Matilda Junkin in 1906 and had three daughters: Mary (Mollie) Dorothy Porter Wood, Frances (Franie) Junkin Wood and Joyce Rogers Wood.

In 1897 he started working in Peterborough, Ontario as a clerk of Central Canada Loan and Savings Company started by Senator George Albertus Cox. In 1899 Frank P Wood moved to Montreal to work at the National Trust, incorporated a year earlier by Cox and his brother Edward Rogers Wood. Later in life he became a Vice-President of the National Trust.

In 1903 Frank Porter Wood started up, with Sir Frank Wilton Baillie, and his brother James W. Baillie, a brokerage firm, Baillie Brothers and Company (later Baillie, Wood, and Croft), which operated on the Toronto Stock Exchange. In 1910 Frank Porter Wood became President of Burlington Steel. In 1912 the Bankers’ Bond Company Limited was formed to succeed Baillie, Wood, and Croft. Late in 1914 Frank Porter Wood and Sir Frank Wilton Baillie collaborated with the owners of the Chadwick Brass Company in Hamilton to set up the large Canadian Cartridge Company Limited, of which Sir Frank Wilton Baillie became president and Frank P Wood Vice-President. Until his death in 1955, Frank Porter Wood continued to participate in the Canadian business community as a financier.

The home of the art collector Frank P. Wood on Bayview Avenue that houses the Crescent School.

FP Wood and his family were consummately modest, they never spoke of their accolades and they were quickly forgotten. Frank P Wood, however, will be remembered not for his business accomplishments but for his love of the arts and philanthropy. To this date he is still the single most generous donor of the Art Gallery of Ontario. “He is given a place of honour among the earlier collectors of Old Master paintings in Toronto” according to David McTavish of Queen’s University and a former curator of the Art Gallery of Toronto. Frank Porter Wood was a client of Sir Joseph Duveen; and like most of Duveen clients Frank Porter Wood donated his paintings to public institutions, including his residence that was distinguished by the Beaux-Arts architecture, influenced and built by William Adams Delano and which now houses the Crescent School.

He died on 20 March 1955 in Toronto and his major bequest to the Art Gallery of Ontario included: The Harvest Wagon by Thomas Gainsborough, Daedalus Warning His Son Icarus by Anthony van Dyck, A Portrait of Dr. Joseph Joachim by John Singer Sargent, Portrait of a Gentleman, Isaak Abrahamsz Massa by Frans Hals, Lady with a Lap Dog by Rembrandt van Rijn, and Portrait of Vincent Laurensz van der Vinne by Frans Hals.

Other paintings owned or donated by Frank Porter Wood include artists such as: Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir, Lambert Sustris, Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, Maurice Utrillo, Claude Monet, Aelbert Cuyp, Auguste Rodin, John Singer Sargent, Francesco Raibolini (known as Francia), Jacopo Comin (Tintoretto), Tiziano Vecelli, and Jacob van Ruisdael to mention only a few.


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