Renowned for her murals, oils, drawings and sculpture rendered in bronze, silver and marble, Sylvia Lefkovitz was described by one critic as "having an affinity with the earth." Another termed her work "profoundly humane."
Born in 1924, she studied at L'Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Montreal, Columbia University in New York, and at the Academie Julien in Paris. She mastered mural technique while living in Mexico, and applied it to her series of murals on the "Life of Louis Riel" (on permanent exhibition in North Battleford, Saskatchewan), and "The Acadians," now housed at Ste-Anne's University in Novia Scotia.
Lefkovitz moved to Florence in 1960. It was there that she dicovered the classic "lost-wax" process, in which the artist's wax prototype is used to cast a bronze sculpture. It was a perfect medium for her work, and she soon won Florence's Porcellino Award as Best Resident Foreign Artist; critical acclaim throughout the country quickly followed. After a long series of Italian exhibits and retrospectives and two decades of awards and commissions in both Europe and North America, Lefkovitz returned to Montreal in 1981. She worked and taught there until her death in 1987.
Major commissions include the eighty-figure "Divine Comedy" produced in 1963 through the "lost-wax" process, as well as the "Fathers Of Confederation," a series of ninety separate bronze pieces commemmorating the 1967 Canadian Centennial. The massive five-figure bronze "Chorus" was a Montreal landmark for years, standing above the entrance to the Mies van der Rohe Westmount Square Complex. And eight bronze "Biblical Panels" in bas relief (inspired by Ghilberti's Bronze Doors on the Baptistery in Florence) recount several stories from the Old Testament.
Sylvia Lefkovitz's life and work in both Italy and Canada were profiled in the National Film Board of Canada's documentary "In Search of Medea: The Art of Sylvia Lefkovi