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 Mashel Alexander Teitelbaum  (1921 - 1985)



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Lived/Active: Ontario/Saskatchewan / Canada      Known for: landscape and figure painting, printmaking, educator

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Mashel Alexander Teitelbaum (1921 – 1985)

A prominent Canadian painter, draftsman, printmaker and educator, Mashel Teitelbaum was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and died in Toronto, Ontario, where he had lived since 1953. His works are in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada and numerous other Canadian museums. (1)

His mediums were oil, acrylic, enamel, watercolor, ink, gouache*, collage*, etching*, serigraph* and mixed mediums. His subjects were landscapes, portraits, figures, still life, nudes, social commentary and pure abstraction – shape, color and texture. His styles were Fauvism*, Expressionism*, Abstract Expressionism* and Minimalism*. (2)

Teitelbaum’s formal art education includes the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon (1939 – 1941), where he studied under Hilda Stewart (1892 – 1978); the California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco (1950 – 1951), under Clyfford Still and Ad Reinhardt; and Mills College, Oakland (1951), under Max Beckmann. Another important influence was Robert Newton Hurley with whom Teitelbaum went on sketching trips when he lived in Saskatoon. He also traveled in Europe in 1959 and 1960. (3)

Teitelbaum’s professional career includes work for CBC television as a painter and set designer (1954 – 1959); art instructor at the School of Fine Arts, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg (1960); founder of the New School [of art], Toronto, where he also taught (1961 – 1962); and art critic for the Toronto Telegram (1969 – 1980s). During World War II he served in the Canadian Army Reserve (1943 – 1945).

His paintings have been shown in the Saskatoon Art Association's Spring Exhibition (1939), the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Spring Exhibitions (1949, 1963 and 1964), with the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* (1964), in the Sixth Biennial Exhibition of Canadian Painting at the National Gallery of Canada and the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (1965), and in “Toronto Painting: 1953 – 1965” at the National Gallery of Canada.

His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions and retrospectives at the Vancouver Art Gallery, B.C. (1948); Saskatoon Art Centre, Saskatchewan (1956); Hart House, University of Toronto (1967); Winter College Art Gallery, York University, Toronto (1968); Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon (1991); Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan (1992); Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Kitchener, Ontario (1992); the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Ontario (1992); Hart House, University of Toronto (1992); Art Gallery of Windsor, Ontario (1992); and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario (1992). (4)

Teitelbaum’s work has also been included in solo and group exhibitions at prominent commercial galleries such as Galerie Libre, Montreal; Penthouse Gallery, Montreal; Galerie l'Actuel, Montreal; Dresdnere Gallery, Toronto; Isaacs Gallery, Toronto; Loranger Gallery, Toronto; Walter Moos Gallery, Toronto; Robertson Gallery, Ottawa; Blue Barn Gallery, Ottawa; and De Vooght Gallery, Vancouver, B.C.

Teitelbaum’s works are in numerous museum collections; according to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* and individual museum websites, they include the permanent collections of the Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton), Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (B.C.), Art Gallery of Hamilton (Ontario), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Carleton University Art Gallery (Ottawa, Ontario), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, D.C.), Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery (Concordia University, Montreal), Mackenzie Art Gallery (Regina, Saskatchewan), McMichael Canadian Art Collection (Kleinburg, Ontario), Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec), Museum London (Ontario), Owens Art Gallery (Sackville, N.B.), Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa, Ontario), Simon Fraser University Gallery (Burnaby, B.C.), University of Lethbridge Art Gallery (Lethbridge, Alberta), Vancouver Art Gallery (B.C.), Winnipeg Art Gallery (Manitoba) and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa). (5)

His awards and honors include an Award of Merit from the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* in 1964 and a Canada Council* grant in 1968.

(1) Teitelbaum lived in Montreal, Quebec from 1951 to 1953. Source: National Gallery of Canada [A Dictionary of Canadian Artists volume 9].

(2) “In 1969, Teitelbaum invented an acrylic paintskin technique. The process involved applying acrylic paint to sheets of polyethylene plastic; after the paint was dry it was peeled off and manipulated to create collages and various flat and semi-sculptural paintings.” Source: Ibid.

(3) Please note: All artists mentioned in this biography and its footnotes, except those with life-dates after their name, have their own records in AskART.

(4) Please note: Five of the 1992 solo exhibitions examined different periods of Teitelbaum’s work such as figurative expressionist paintings (Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery), abstract paintings (Hart House, University of Toronto), 1967 (Art Gallery of Hamilton), paintskin constructions (Art Gallery of Windsor), and Georgian Bay landscapes (McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg). The Mendel Art Gallery and Dunlop Art Gallery showed “From Regionalism to Abstraction: Mashel Teitelbaum and Saskatchewan Art in the 1940's” in 1991 and 1992. Sources: National Gallery of Canada; and Simon Fraser University.

(5) Please note: The University of Lethbridge Art Gallery has 30 of the 36 Teitelbaum paintings in its collection illustrated online; the combined total of online illustrations of this artist’s work for all other museums is two. MDS.

Abstract Painting in Canada (2008), by Roald Nasgaard (see AskART book references)

Biographical Index of Artists in Canada (2003), by Evelyn de Rostaing McMann (see AskART book references)

The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar (see AskART book references)

Canadian Art in the Twentieth Century (1999), by Joan Murray (see AskART book references)

Art and Architecture in Canada (1991), by Loren R. Lerner and Mary F. Williamson (see AskART book references)

Royal Canadian Academy of Arts: Exhibitions and Members, 1880 – 1979 (1981), by Evelyn de R. McMann (see AskART book references)

Passionate Spirits: A History of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, 1880 – 1980 (1980), by Rebecca Sisler (see AskART book references)

The Index of Ontario Artists (1978), edited by Hennie Wolff (see AskART book references)

Sky painter: The Story of Robert Newton Hurley (1973), by Jean Christina McLear Swanson (see AskART book references)

Creative Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth Century Creative and Performing Arts (1972), by Helen M. Rodney (see AskART book references)

The Nude in Canadian Painting (1972), by Jerrold Morris (see AskART book references)

Art Gallery of Ontario – The Canadian Collection (1970), by Helen Pepall Bradfield (see AskART book references)

National Gallery of Canada [A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, volume 9 (2008), by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker; (online only)]

Canadian Heritage Information Network* (biography, museums)

University of Lethbridge Art Gallery (illustrations)

Art Gallery of Ontario (catalogue summaries online)

Simon Fraser University (library records)

Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

Prepared and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
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