Biography of Louis MUHLSTOCK

Louis Muhlstock by Lilias Torrance Newton



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.


Louis Muhlstock worked in oil on canvas, mixed media on paper and pastel and charcoal on paper. He also produced some prints.


  • 1995: Retrospective

                Musée du Québec, travelling exhibition

  • 1994: Centre culturel de la ville de Verdun
  • 1993: Inscapes, Paysages intérieurs, Artists Center of Bishop University, Lennoxville
  • 1993: Musée Marc-Aurèle Fortin, Montreal
  • 1991: Inauguration of the new gallery Loto-Québec, Montreal
  • 1990: Lifelines, works on paper, Bishop University, Lennoxville
  • 1989: Un dessinateur, L. Muhlstock, The Draughtman, Oeuvres sur papier, Centre Saidye Bronfman
  • 1989: Travelling exhibition organised by the National Gallery of Canada
  • 1987: Nouveaux Thèmes et Variations, Place des Arts, Montreal
  • 1985: Louis Muhlstock, New Themes and Variations 1980-1985, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Sherbrooke
  • 1978: L. Muhlstock revisité, Exposition Flammarion, foyer de la Place des Arts, Montreal
  • 1976: A survey of 45 years, Travelling exhibition, Art Gallery of Windsor
  • 1972: Centre culturel de la ville de Verdun
  • 1962: Variations on the figure, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal
  • 1959: Peintures et Monotypes, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal
  • 1953: Paintings by Louis Muhlstock, Robertson Galleries, Ottawa
  • 1949-1950: Dessins et Peintures, National Gallery of Canada, Allied Arts Center, Calgary, Vancouver Art  Gallery
  • 1939: Dessins, Art Association of Montreal
  • 1936-37-39: Picture Loan Society, Toronto
  • 1935: 70 Dessins, Art Association of Montreal


  • Muhlstock, Musée du Québec, 1995
  • Louis Valliant, Le critique face à la collection, Art Gallery of Concordia University, 1992
  • Louis Muhlstock: The Art of Hard Times, The Canadian Forum, August 1991
  • H. Sicotte, À Kingston, il y a 50 ans, la conférence des artistes canadiens, Annales d’histoire de l’art canadien, 1991
  • J. Couelle et M. Nadeau-Saumier, Louis Muhlstock, un dessinateur, Centre d’art Saidye Bronfman, 1989
  • M. Nadeau Saumier, The Urban Landscape 1930-1950, Thesis of Master Studies, Concordia University, 1989
  • « Louis Muhlstock, le vieux peintre de la rue Ste-Famille », dans Vie des Arts, vol. XXXI, no. 124, Autumn 1986
  • M. Nadeau Saumier et S. Paikowski, Louis Muhlstock, Variations on a Theme 1980-1985, Art Gallery of Concordia University, 1985
  • Alexandra Szacka, Immigration et démographie, Juifs et réalités juives au Québec, Institut québécois de recherche sur la culture, 1984
  • Modernité et conscience sociale: la critique d’art progressiste des années 30, Annales d’histoire de l’art canadien, vol. VIII, no. 1, 1984
  • J. De Roussan, Le nu dans l’art au Québec, Éditions Marcel Broquet, 1982
  • C. Varley,Morrice to Borduas-Painting in Montreal from 1900 to 1950, The Shell Canada Gallery, 1982
  • A. Bayefsky & H. N. Milnes, Fields of Force in Canadian Art, 1930 to 1980, The Arts in Canada: The Last 50 years, University of Toronto Press, 1980
  • 100 Years of Canadian Drawings, Methuen Publications, 1980
  • A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing, 1980
  • J. Lamoureux et C. Varley, La Société d’art contemporain, Montréal 1939-1948, The Edmonton Art Gallery, 1980
  • « Louis Muhlstock revisité », dans Vie des Arts, vol. XXI, no. 16, Winter 1978-1979
  • P. Dumas, R. De Repentigny et H. Barras, Louis Muhlstock revisité, Les expositions Flammarion de la Place des Arts, 1978
  • La peinture au Québec depuis ses origines, Éditions France-Amérique, 1978
  • K. Wilkin & T. Fenton, Modern Painting in Canada-A survey of major movements in 20th Century Canadian Art, The Edmonton Art Gallery, 1978
  • R. Ayre, H. Duffy et M. Constantini, The Laurentians-Painters in a landscape, Art Gallery of Ontario, 1977
  • F. Saint-Martin, Trois générations d’art québécois 1940/1950/1960, Musée d’art contemporain, 1976
  • K. Saltmarche et P. Dumas, Louis Muhlstock-A Survey of Forty-Five years, Art Gallery of Windsor, 1976
  • La peinture des années 30 au Québec, Annales d’histoire de l’art canadien, vol. III, 1976
  • C. Hill, Peinture canadienne des années 30, National Gallery of Canada, 1975
  • Pictures from the Douglas M. Duncan Barwick Collection,selected and introduced by F. Duncan Barwick, University of Toronto Press, 1975
  • Guy Robert, L’art au Québec depuis 1940, Les Éditions de La Presse, 1973
  • J. Morris, The Nude in Canadian Painting, 1972
  • Four Decades, The Canadian Group of Painters and their contemporaries, 1930-1970, Clarke Irwin Co. Ltd., 1972
  • L’exposition du peintre Louis Muhlstock au centre culturel de Verdun, L’information médicale et paramédicale, 1972
  • B. Lacroix et J. Brault, Oeuvres de St-Denys Garneau, Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1971


  • Corporate and private collections in Canada and in the United-States




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