Tom Forrestall was born in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia in 1936. He was raised in Middleton and Dartmouth. His interest in painting developed by age seven and, shortly after, he started attending art classes at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax.
In 1954, he obtained a scholarship to attend the
Fine Arts Faculty at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New
Brunswick. In 1958, he received at graduation one of the first Canada
Council Grants for independent study and travel throughout Europe.
Forrestall then married Natalie LeBlanc of Atholville and returned to
Canada to work as Assistant Curator of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in
Fredericton. In 1960, a Forrestall painting was commissioned by the
Province of New Brunswick and presented to H.R.H Princess Margaret on
the occasion of Her marriage. In that year, he also realized his
lifelong ambition as a professional self-employed artist and began
experimentation with shaped panels for his art, for which he is now very
well known. Many important commissions and awards have since been
bestowed on Forrestall.
Forrestall's principal media have been egg tempera and watercolour and since 1980, lithography printing. His work has been exhibited in private and public galleries, both nationally and internationally, in numerous solo and group exhibitions. The retrospective exhibition of the artist's work entitled "Paintings, Drawings, Writings" organized by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia was displayed to great acclaim in Halifax and then continued at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton in early 2009. The exhibition is accompanied by the publication "Tom Forrestall: Paintings, Drawings, Writings" written by Tom Smart, who also curated the retrospective exhibition. In 2010, the retrospective exhibition continued at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg Ontario and the Owens Art Gallery, Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB. Forrestall's work is reproduced in major histories of contemporary Canadian art. Tom Forrestall received the Order of Canada in 1986. His paintings are in important private, corporate and public collections in Canada and abroad, including in the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Owens Art Gallery, Mount St. Vincent University, Dalhouse University, King's College, Halifax, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Art Gallery of Windsor, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Musée d'Art Contemporain, Montréal, Rideau Hall, Ottawa, and the National Gallery of Hungary in Budapest. In 2010, the National Gallery of Canada acquired three of Tom's paintings for its permanent collection.