Dear friends of Stanley - I found this writing and want to share with you.
And, yes, thanks Ezra for keeping this alive!
Who was Stanley Lewis?
“A workaholic sculptor whose prime mistress was art,” wrote Lisa Fritterman in her obituary for The Globe and Mail in 2006, “yet he also loved Chinese food, lobster, women, kielbasa sausage and his friends.” I add to this: smoked meat from the Main Deli Steak House, lean, with Barbie’s coleslaw.
There are two preoccupations in Stanley's philosophy of life: the temporal and the timeless. His epicurean indulging represents the temporal aspect of his spirituality, whereas his art repesents the timeless aspect of his spirituality. Food aside, Stanley Lewis was a master Canadian sculptor, innovative stone-cut printmaker, writer, teacher, photographer, traveller and researcher with a 56-year international career. Despite the lengthy contribution he made to Canadian art, he never gained the recognition he longed for and many feel he deserved. He was a teacher and mentor to many accomplished artists including Ryan Larkin, the Canadian animator, who was his lifelong friend. Speaking for myself, Stanley was the most interesting and beguiling man I have ever met.
From a sparkling debut in the fifties as the most talented student to graduate from the Montreal School of Fine Arts under the tutelage of the pioneering art educator Dr. Arthur Lismer, Stanley went on to Mexico for three years, where he learnt the rudiments of lithography and stone sculpture. Winning the prestigious Greenshields scholarship, he set sail for Italy where he learnt classical marble sculpting under Vittorio Gambacciani, the last marble carver in Italy. Here he discovered a Michelangelo technique and is accredited with being a Michelangelo expert. A meeting with Irving Stone the American author instigated a long correspondence, with Stanley providing the technical notes for Stone’s bestselling novel The Agony and the Ecstasy, on the life of Michelangelo. Stanley was later to profess to the media that he was plagiarised by Stone.
Coming back to Canada he searched for “the flavour of Canadian art,” finding it in the Inuit stone carvers and the stone-cut print. He began experimenting and innovated the technique, saying he “was the only non-Inuit to be working in this medium.” He was commissioned to create The Ten Commandments by the Jewish Congress and spent a further three years at Ein Hod, Israel. After nine years of world travels he returned to Montreal where he put on 33 one-man shows, co-founded the Association of Sculptors, and began a 25-year stint as head sculptor at the Saidye Bronfman Center, Montreal.
Later Years: At sixty, after various breakdowns and professional disappointments, Stanley distanced himself from the art world, finding a small studio on The Main, Montreal’s Boulevard St. Laurent, where he “went back to his roots,” returning to stone carving where he was “only influenced by his own work.”
He spent the last fifteen years of his life away from the public eye. He resumed his friendship with Ryan Larkin the animator. The two were inseparable, becoming local legends on the strip. Both had their “creative rebirth” at the same time in 2005. Stanley looked after Ryan and Ryan looked to Stanley as a father figure. They were to die within six months of each other, Stanley in 2006 and Ryan in 2007.