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Montreal, Quebec, 1924
Montreal, Quebec, 1987
Biography synopsis
As a young artist Sylvia Lefkovitz received encouragement from Anne Savage to pursue her artistic talents. From 1942 to 1946 Lefkovitz attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, where she studied under Eldon Grier. She continued her studies under Malloy and Malderelli at Columbia University, New York, and then at the Académie Julian in Paris. While in Europe Lefkovitz also traveled to Spain and Italy, and then to Mexico, where she studied major historical murals. Upon her return to Montreal she was commissioned by the Redpath Museum of McGill University to complete a series of murals on the historic Riel rebellion. The work was later purchased by the Department of Northern Affairs for The National Historic Park at Fort Battleford, Saskatchewan. Lefkovitz also completed a series of murals about the Acadians, which now hangs at Universite Sainte-Anne’s in Nova Scotia. In 1958 she was awarded a fellowship by the Canada Council, allowing her to study in Mexico for one year at the Polytechnic Institute with Jose Guierrez. After her studies in Mexico, Lefkovitz moved to Italy in 1960 and remained abroad until 1981 when she returned to Montreal. In 1962 she won Florence’s Porcellino Award of Best Resident Foreign Artist. In 1963 Lefkovitz created eighty individual bronze sculptures inspired by Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” which were exhibited in the Dante Room of the Royal Palace in Milan. Following this, she created “The Fathers of Confederation,” which traveled around Canada in 1967 for the Canadian Centennial. That same year the National Film Board of Canada produced a short film about Lefkovitz and her work entitled “In Search of Medea.” In addition to her murals and sculptures in marble, wood, and bronze, she is also known for her works in oil. Her works have been exhibited both nationally and internationally.
Media used
Columbia University, New York (under Malloy & Malderelli)
Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Montreal, 1942 - 1946
Académie Julian, Paris
Polytechnic Institute, Mexico, 1958 - ? (under Jose Guierrez)
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, School of Art and Design, 1942 - 1946 (under Eldon Grier)
File & Archive locations
University of Calgary Library, AB
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives
Art Gallery of Ontario - Edward P. Taylor Research Library and Archives
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts / Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, QC
Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, QC - Media Centre
Vancouver Art Gallery, BC - Library
Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, QC

Writings about
"Critics Acclaim Montreal Sculptor: Canadian Artist Wins Fame In Florence." Springfield Leader [Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba] 04 Dec. 1962
"Dantesque Sculpture." The Montreal Star 17 Oct. 1964
"La sculpture des Pères de la Confédération de Sylvia Lefkovitz admirée par les Canadiens." Le Droit [Montreal] 14 July 1967
"Local Artist In Milan." The Gazette [Montreal] 09 Oct. 1964
"Montreal Artist Lefkovitz Dies." The Gazette [Montreal] 27 Apr 1987: D5
"Montreal Sculptor Wins Italian Award." Globe & Mail [Toronto] 27 Nov. 1962
"Muralist Depicts Acadians' History." The Globe and Mail 01 July 1986: C7
"Sylvia Lefkovitz, sculpteur canadien de grand talent." L'Evangeline [Moncton] 09 Feb. 1963
"Warm reception surprises artist Lefkovitz." Chronicle-Herald [Halifax] 20 Aug. 1983: 26
Barrett, Gloria. "Sculpture Is Symbol Of Canadian Pioneers." The Ottawa Journal 5 May 1967
Bazin, Jules. "Le retour de Sylvia Lefkovitz." Vie des Arts 28.114 (mars-avril-mai 1984): 61-62
Goodman, Joyce. "Artist's Luggage Weighs Two Tons." The Montreal Star 30 July 1962
Green, Mary. "Now Here This." The Montreal Star 13 Sept. 1969
Hill, Harriet. "Facts and Fancies." The Gazette [Montreal] 20 Mar. 1959
MacDonald, Colin S. The Dictionary of Canadian Artists. (Volumes 1-8 by Colin S. MacDonald, and volume 9 by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker) Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 2009.
Pfeiffer, Dorothy. "One-Woman Show." The Gazette [Montreal] 27 Oct. 1962
Prakash, A. K. Independent Spirit: Early Canadian Women's Art Buffalo, New York: Firefly Books, 2008
Samuels, Arthur. "In Search of Medea: The Art of Sylvia Lefkovitz." National Film Board of Canada 1966
Vaillancourt, Madeleine. "Sa seule patrie: la peinture." Le Petit Journal 12 July 1959
Vineberg, Dusty. "The Chorus stars in the latest show." The Montreal Star 5 Oct. 1967
Westbridge, Anthony R. The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction. Vancouver: Westbridge Publications, 2001

Writings by
Lefkovitz, Sylvia. Sylvia Lefkovitz: between Montreal, Mexico & Milan. Montreal, Quebec: Galerie Valentin, 2006

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