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Louis Muhlstock (1904-2001)

Louis Muhlstock (1904-2001)


“Grey Day, St. Sauveur, Quebec”

Oil on Board

21.5” x 16.5” Image

28” x 23.5” Frame

Signed Front Bottom Right

Excellent Condition

Provenance: Private Hamilton Collection; exhibited at the Art Gallery of Hamilton.

  • Biography

    Born in Narajow, Austria (now Poland) the Muhlstock family immigrated to Canada in 1911, settling in Montreal, when Louis was seven years old.

    After graduating from high school he worked as an accountant for his family’s firm during the day and studied art in the evenings at the Council of Arts and Manufacturers, the Art Association of Montreal and at the École des Beaux-Arts.  In 1925 two of his portrait studies were accepted for showing at the Montreal Spring Exhibition, the first of his work to be exhibited.

    In 1937 Muhlstock was elected a member of the Canadian Society of Graphic Art.  In 1939 he became a member of the Canadian Group of Painters and in the same year he was active in the founding of the Contemporary Arts Society of Montreal.

    Since 1927 Muhlstock has been exhibiting his work not only in Canada and the United States, but also in France, Brazil and Switzerland.


    Muhlstock’s subject matter includes nudes for which he used live models, people from all strata of society observed in the daily life of the city, factory, shipyard and other workers, portraits, still lifes, interiors and landscapes.  In the 1950s he also experimented with abstracts.  In the 1980s his interior landscapes became his prime interest.  These paintings are essentially non-figurative and their colors are muted.  But they gradually evolve into vivid bursts of color, more accurately reflecting Muhlstock's eternal optimism and extraordinary vitality.

    In 1995 John R. Porter, of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, had this to say about the artist: "... Muhlstock's work is the fruit of an alert eye, which never tires of exploring the everyday life that surrounds him, of the simple line that traces the full range of shadow and light. He finds his reward in the foreshortening of a tired nude as much as in tracing a partially open window or in the strange perspective of an abandoned interior which still holds the memory of a human presence."

    Louis Muhlstock continued to paint with the same ardour and discipline that had always distinguished his work until his deathin Montreal in 2001 at age 97.


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