Ernst NEUMANN, 1907-1955
Born in Budapest, Hungary, he came to Canada with his Austrian parents in 1912 at the age of five. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and life classes of the Royal Canadian Academy (at the Art Association of Montreal). He entered a lithography shop as an apprentice and during this period developed a personal interest in lithography, woodcuts, and other printed forms of the graphic arts. He was also a sculptor of note. He was inspired by the masters including Sir Joshua Reynolds, Rembrandt, Renoir, van Gogh and others. Early in his career Neumann became known for his fine lithographs, etchings and woodcuts. In the fall of 1936 he shared a studio with Goodridge Roberts and they founded the Roberts-Neumann School of Art. They had been students at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts around 1924. Viewing his work in 1939 The Montreal Standard noted “Etchings, lithographs and woodcuts in the Art Association print room make it clear that Ernst Neumann is a thoroughly metropolitan artist. He gets his pictures in the city streets and alleys and in the studio – nudes and painters and onlookers in the studio, down-and-outs on park benches or living on the grass of Fletcher’s Field, lawyers gathered outside the courts, hymn-singers on the street corner, beggars on the pavement, urchins playing in back lanes – this is the stuff that appeals to his sharp eye, for registration by a skilled hand. He is at his best, I feel, in the detail of character, whether it be in a clump of old buildings or in the folds of a face or an old garment.” Neumann exhibited his work at a number of places over the years including the following: Art Assoc. of Montreal/Museum of Fine Arts (Print Rm., 1939, Contemp. Art Room, 1950; Gal. XII, 1952); Arts Club of Montreal (1941, 1945); Temple Emanu – El, Mtl. (1942, 1943); Cercle Universitaire, Mtl. (1951); Henry Morgan Store, Mtl. (1953); Snowdon Y.M.-Y.W.H.A. (1954). He was delegated in 1954 by the Canadian Arts Council to attend the UNESCO sponsored congress which met in the Cini Palace on the Isle of St. Giorgio near Venice. He was awarded a government overseas fellowship by the Royal Society of Canada in 1955 to study in France and while at Venice died of a heart attack in his 48th year. Several showings of his work took place after his death: Art Gallery of Hamilton (1958), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1958), UNB Art Centre (1959) all sponsored by the National Gallery of Canada.
Colin S. MacDonald
A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, volumes 1-8 by Colin S. MacDonald, and volume 9 (online only), by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker
National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada