NEXT ARTIST arrowright.GIF (261 bytes)











Marion Wagschal


  • born in Port-au-Spain, Trinidad in 1943
  • immigrated to Montréal, Québec in 1951; parents emigrated from Cologne, Germany ca. 1938; maternal grandparents from Lithuania
  • B.A., Concordia University, Montréal, Québec (1975)

expanded images click on thumbnails at left to view larger images

Throughout her career, Marion Wagschal has consistently explored the human figure. As a young artist she was concerned with Biblical themes, creating portraits of Biblical figures such as Abraham and Isaac. At the same time what absorbed her were the intimate moments occurring at family gatherings, portraits not of the monumental but of the everyday. The human body is never idealized or romanticized in Wagschal's oeuvre. Her figures are wrinkled, aged and tired, signifying the artist's refusal to adopt the legacy of the Greek and Renaissance ideal of beauty and perfection or contemporary society's obsession with cosmetic perfection. Works such as Backyard (1974) and The Birthday Party (1970) reflect this, depicting with a strong sense of fun the characters that often play in family events. Despite the humour, upon close inspection many of her works contain dark references to the Holocaust and other Jewish history, such as the figures being chased by the German shepherd in The Birthday Party. Although she seeks creative inspiration from models, often friends and acquaintances, her portraits are constructions, wherein reality serves merely as a starting point. As Brian Foss describes in a recent catalogue of her portrait work: "She paints their faces on canvases that are often not large enough to accommodate them completely. She expands beyond their faces to their full, exhausted bodies, setting these in nondescript and shallow spaces that make no pretense of heroicizing their occupants. These full-length figures in particular epitomize the mundane, even the abject . . . . Their fleshy, sagging bodies and aloof eyes transcend their immediacy as specific individuals and tether them--through the communal experience of living in finite, fallible bodies--to our shared knowledge of the limitations and potentialities of being human" (1999). Cyclorama (1988) is a series of self-portraits, which Wagschal sees as reflecting her own various guises and roles in life, relating strongly to Cindy Sherman's "staged" self-portraits (Wagschal, 1999). In 1993 she painted Kiln, part of a series of works that engage with the subject of the Holocaust. Although the kiln can be seen as an ordinary tool for firing clay, the viewer is forced to gaze in this work upon its open mouth, and inside the rage of fire recalls the cremation of bodies during World War II. Wagschal represents the factory of the artist's studio, but she also considers it to be a factory of history and the unconscious mind. Limelight Loom (1993) reflects her knowledge of the history of painting and her desire to produce works which engage in dialogue with artistic precedents, in this case the weavers depicted by Van Gogh. Although there are no human figures in this painting, the human presence is undeniably palpable. According to Rose-Marie Arbour (1994), Wagschal's depiction of a work space reflects the artist’s interest in the theme of human labour and the psychic and physical toll this production takes on its human subjects. Wagschal is a teacher of painting and drawing at Concordia University in Montréal, Québec.



1999 Galerie Bellefeuille, Montréal, Québec


1993 Labeur-toil: dépeindre, peindre encore.
Musée de Joliette, Joliette, Québec; Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec


1991 Essential Lives
Concordia University, Montréal, Québec


1988 Accounts
Galerie d'art centre Saidye Bronfman/Gallery of the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts, Montréal, Québec

Recent Paintings
University of British Columbia Fine Arts Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia


1984 Galerie Don Stewart, Montréal, Québec


1980 Galerie Waddington, Montréal, Québec


1974 Marlborough-Godard Gallery, Montréal, Québec; Toronto, Ontario


1965 Jason Teff Gallery, Montréal, Québec



1999 Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Montréal, Québec; Musée de la civilisation, Hull, Québec


1998 Israel at 50
Toronto, Ontario


1996 Echoic Landscapes
Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University, Montréal, Québec

Images corps et âmes
372 Ste-Catherine, Montréal, Québec


1995 Lush
Galerie Articule, Montréal, Québec


1995-94 World's Women on Line
Internet Exhibition, Women's Conference, Beijing, China


1994 Sir Thomas More Institute, Montréal, Québec

Of Webern & Identity
Centre culturel Notre-Dame-de-Grace, Montréal, Québec


1993 Galerie Optica, Montréal, Québec

Belgo Building, Montréal, Québec


1992 Violence, The Deadly Seduction (aka Violence and Human Coexistence)
Société d'esthétique du Québec, Palais des Congrès, Montréal, Québec


1990 Les Femmeuses
Pratt & Whitney, Longueuil, Québec


1989 Montréal sur papier, premier volet
Galerie d'art centre Saidye Bronfman/Gallery of the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts, Montréal, Québec

Totems, Gods, Goddesses, Demons
Circa Gallery, Montréal, Québec

Série Kompakt
Galerie d'art Lavalin, Montréal, Québec


1988 Montréal/Berlin 88-89
Galerie d'art centre Saidye Bronfman/Gallery of the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts, Montréal, Québec; Goethe-Institut, Montréal, Québec; Galerie d'art Lavalin, Montréal, Québec; Hochschule der Künste, Berlin, Germany


1985 Canadian Drawings
Galerie Gilles Gheerbrandt, Montréal, Québec


1983 L'Art actuel
Air Canada, Place Ville Marie, Montréal, Québec


1982 L'art et feminisme
Musée des Beaux Arts, Montréal, Québec


1977 Drawings by Jewish Artists
Galerie d'art centre Saidye Bronfman/Gallery of the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts, Montréal, Québec

Jewish Experience in the Arts of the Twentieth Century
Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia


1976 Cent onze dessins du Québec
Musée d'art contemporain, Montréal, Québec

Forum '76
Musée des Beaux Arts, Montréal, Québec


1971 New Talent Show
Galerie Godard-Lefort, Montréal, Québec


1969 Prominent Montréal Artists
Place Bonaventure, Montréal, Québec

Young Québec Artists
Beckett Gallery, Hamilton, Ontario


1968 Biennial Exhibition
Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba



Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton, New Brunswick
Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa, Ontario
Confederation Art Gallery, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University, Montréal, Québec
Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Montréal, Québec
Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Montréal, Québec
Musée du Québec, Québec, Québec
Sir Thomas More Institute, Montréal, Québec
University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta


Antaki, Karen. A Decade of Collecting: A Selection of Recent Acquisitions. Montréal, Québec: Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University, 1992.

Arbour, Rose-Marie. Marion Wagschal: Labeur-toil: dépeindre, peindre encore. Sherbrooke, Québec: Université de Sherbrooke, 1994.

---, et al. Art et féminisme. Montréal, Québec: Musée des beaux-arts , 1982.

Art Auction. Montréal, Québec: Foundation of the Friends of the Montréal Museum of Contemporary Art, 1993.

Baert, Renée, et al. Critical Paths. Montréal, Québec: Permanent Review Committee on the Status of Women, Faculty of Fine Arts, Concordia University, 1988.

Bélisle, Josée. Dons 1989-1994. Montréal, Québec: Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, 1995.

Buzzell, Judith E. Media orientations of four women artists: Questions and
implications for teaching art
. Thesis (M.A.). Montréal, Québec: Concordia University, Department of Art Education and Art Therapy, 1989.

Campbell, James D. Montréal sur papier, premier volet. Montréal, Québec: Centre Saidye Bronfman, 1989.

The Canada Council Art Bank Catalogue, 1972-1987. Ottawa, Ontario: Canada Council, 1987.

Cooke, Edwy F. Sir George Williams University Collection of Art. Montréal, Québec: Sir George Williams University, 1968.

de Billy, Hélène. "Sitting Pretty/ Face à face." EnRoute Magazine (January 1997): 57.

Foss, Brian. Marion Wagschal. New Paintings. Montréal, Québec: Galerie de Bellefeuille, 1999.

Graphics from the UNB Collection. Fredericton, New Brunswick: The Art Centre, University of New Brunswick, 1986.

Harris, Michael. "Portrait of the artist: sitting for Marion Wagschal." Matrix 51 (1998): 40-43.

Krausz, Peter, et al. Berlin/Montréal. Montréal, Québec: Goethe-Institut de Montréal, 1988.

Mayrand, Céline, et al. Série Kompakt. Montréal, Québec: Galerie d'art Lavalin, 1989.

Parent, Alain. Cent-onze dessins du Québec. Montréal, Québec: Musée d'art contemporain, 1976.

---. Drawings from Québec. Ottawa, Ontario: National Gallery of Canada, 1976.

Poissant, Louise, et al. Violence: The Deadly Seduction. Montréal, Québec: Société d'esthétique du Québec, 1992.

Rosshandler, Leo, and Germain Lefebvre. Forum '76. Montréal, Québec: Musée des Beaux Arts, 1976.

---, and Herman Weisler. Montréal/Berlin 88-89. Montréal, Québec: Centre Saidye Bronfman; Goethe-Institut Montréal; Galerie d'art Lavalin; Berlin, RFA: Karlhofer Gesellschaft; Hochschule der Künste, 1988.

Sparling, Mary, and Avram Kampf. Jewish Experience in the Art of the Twentieth Century. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery 1976.

Steinbert-Kraut, Elaine, et al. Actuelles I. Montréal, Québec: Air Canada, 1983.

Szilasi, Andrea. Lush: (Luxuriance). Montréal, Québec: Galerie Articule, 1995.

Tippett, Maria. By a Lady: Celebrating Three Centuries of Art by Canadian Women. Toronto, Ontario" Viking Press, 1992.

Zwartsenberg, Annebet, et al. Québec Women in the 80s: A Portrait. Montréal, Québec: Éditions du Remue-Ménage, 1986.


NEXT ARTIST arrowright.GIF (261 bytes)

arhome.GIF (262 bytes) HOME