Thank you Alvaro Pacheco for the wonderful photo
Stanley Lewis was born in Montreal on 28th March 1930 and died in Montreal on 14th August 2006. He lived in Montreal, always close to Mount Royal, and the last years of his life were spent on the Main, where he lived in his studio above Berson Monuments on the Boulevard St. Laurent, named affectionately the Main by the Montrealers. In his younger years he had studied under Dr Arthur Lismer in Montreal. He went on to study at the Istituto Allende in Mexico and then in Florence under his maestro, Vittorio Gambacciani. He rounded off his apprenticeship with the Inuit in Northern Canada, which permitted him to develop a particular technique of engraving on stone. He also travelled to China to learn about its culture. He loved Chinese teas, Chinese food, and jade which he collected.
When in Florence, Stanley encountered Irving Stone, the famous American writer. He helped Stone over two years understand the techniques of sculpting, which Stone later used for his novel on Michelangelo: The Agony and the Ecstasy. Stone wrote in the acknowledgements: "Stanley Lewis, the Canadian sculptor, was my guide in Florence to Michelangelo's techniques; there he also taught me to carve marble. He has answered an unending stream of questions about the thinking and feeling of the sculptor at work."
The man and the artist
56 years of Stanley's career left us with a rich legacy of sculptures and stone cut prints. Amongst the sculptures that were dearest to him, we find the two Pink Ladies, one sculpted when he was young in Italy whilst working under the auspices of Vittorio Gambacciani, while the other was sculpted in the 1990s and called The Two Solitudes, as she represented the two conflicting sides of the Main - the French and the English. Please refer to the film Dust to view both Pink Ladies. (Reviews)
Stanley's prolific production of prints is first noticed with the Ten Commandments, which he created in Israel in 1965. He participated in exhibitions at both an international and national level - in Paris, Florence, Israel, New York, Mexico, the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Fine Arts in Quebec, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal. He continued to work right up until his death, always surrounded by youth, by artists, by the hipsters and street punks, and anyone interested in art or a good chat.
Stan was constantly haunted by mortality and often quoted the verse from the scriptures: “from dust to dust.” But then he would add a dash of hope: “Man is mortal, but art is eternal”. About working above Berson's, the gravestone engravers, he said: "I sculpt for the living and downstairs they sculpt for the dead."
After his death, the friends of Stanley Lewis organised two retrospective shows which were held in 2006. One to celebrate the man and the other, at the Museum of Fine Art, to celebrate the artist.
1930: born March 28; lives at 5252 Esplanade, Montreal
1949: begins his studies at the School of Art and Design, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, under Dr Arthur Lismer
1953: graduates from the School of Art and Design; begins studying at the Instituto San Miguel Allende, Mexico
1955: La Molendaro (Corngrinder) completed; the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation awards him a scholarship to study in Italy
1956: joins the studio of Vittorio Gambacciani in Florence
1958: Pink Lady completed (Florence version)
1959: leaves Italy and returns to Canada; first show at the Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal
1963: joins the Ein Hod artists’ colony, Israel
1965: marries at Ein Hod; divorces in Israel, leaves Israel and returns to Canada
1969: marries for the second time.
1969 - 1990: has over 33 solo shows, teaches sculpture at the Saidye Bronfman Centre, experiments with stone-cut printing, innovating the Inuit technique.
1990 - 2006
1990: decides to concentrate on stone carving in his studio on the Boulevard St Laurent, Montreal
2002 - 2005: Stanley Lewis begins artistic relationship with various filmmakers, and teams up with Ryan Larkin, the Montreal animator. Four documentaries are created during this time.
2005: plans a retrospective show; plans to travel to Aix-en-Provence to research Cezanne; starts work on Bird & Mask; four documentary films featuring Stanley; hospitalized
2006: dies August 14 at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal; buried at the Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Congregation Cemetery in Montreal
Between his time of travel, creativity and teaching, Stanley spent much of his latter life helping others, inspiring, innovating and convincing anyone who would pass by his studio that: life had no time to wait, it had to be lived NOW!
Premiere of Dust
Stanley's dream to host his film at the Main Deli with old friend Peter Varvaro came true! By Helena Michie
More information on Stanley and documentary workshops
Online information on Stanley