Christiane Pflug

“This is what I…feel about painting, something is revealed that otherwise would not be known.” (1970)

The precise, mysterious painting style of Christiane Pflug has led to her categorization as a magical realist. A devoted mother of two, her subject matter was often dictated by the objects and viewpoints available to her in her domestic space. Themes of nostalgia, melancholia, and tradition occur throughout her work.

Born in Germany in 1936 to a single mother, Pflug spent most of her young life in foster homes in Bavaria, Germany and Austria. Her mother had volunteered as a Red Cross nurse, sending a four year-old Christiane away to keep her safe from the violence of Berlin. Regine, a fashion designer by trade, encouraged her daughter to be creative and artistic, and once the family was reunited in the late 1940s, Christiane worked in her mother’s studio. In 1953 she relocated to Paris to study at the fashion institute of Ecole Baziot. It was in Paris that she met Michael Pflug, a young doctor whom she would eventually marry.

The two were married in 1956, moving shortly thereafter to Tunisia, for Michael’s work. There, the couple had their two daughters, Esther and Ursula. They and their toys become some of Christiane’s frequent subjects (Kitchen Door and Esther) (Kitchen Door in Winter II). In 1959, they moved to Toronto, Canada.

In Canada, Pflug enjoyed considerable success. She was represented by Avrom Isaacs’ Gallery from 1962-1967, and had retrospective exhibitions of both her drawings and paintings at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Hart House, and the Sarnia Art Gallery. She sold every one of her paintings exhibited in her first show with Isaacs (1962), and received Canada Council grants in 1967 and 1968. Christiane Pflug ended her life at Toronto Island’s Hanlan’s Point in 1972.

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