Вінніпеґ Український № 4 (28) (June 2017)



Leo Mol:

world class artist

who lived in our midst

25th Anniversary of Leo Mol

Sculpture Garden

Text: Luba Fedorkiw

Photos: Norbert K. Iwan

orn Leonid (Hryhorijevich) Molodozhanyn on January 15, 1915 in the village of

B Polonne, Ukraine to a long line of family potters,* and at his father’s side and

within the community, Leonid apprenticed and acquired the craft of modeling

clay, using the potter’s wheel and firing clay, to create ceramics.

Breaking from tradition, Leonid decided that he wanted to study painting in Vienna,

Austria. At age 15, he became fluent in German and exposed himself to the rich history

of world art, music and theater, while

working with sculptor Frans Klimsh,

who specialized in plasticine and terra

cotta. The talented youth was accepted

into Kunst Akademie [Berlin, Germany].*

His formal art education was

at the Leningrad Academy of Arts. He

married his wife Margareth in 1943. By

1945 both resettled in Holland, where

he changed his name to Leo Mol (nom

de plume). Leo attended the Academy

of Art in The Hague.*

Leonid Molodozhanyn and his wife

immigrated to Canada in 1948, at a time

when Canada needed farmers not artists.

Mol persuaded the reluctant immigration

officer in the Hague that

he would be an asset to Canada, since

his sponsors were grain farmers and

he originated from a humble farming

village in Ukraine.

Arriving at Hudson Bay Junction near

Prince Albert, Saskatchewan during a

harsh winter on the Canadian prairies

was a stark awakening in itself. Mol

looked for immediate work and found

it in Winnipeg, where he befriended

Yakiw Maydanyk , also a painter, cartoonist

and teacher. Initially, the newly

naturalized artist assisted Maydanyk in

painting and decorating the interiors

of churches.

Local success for this soft spoken

artist/sculptor gained momentum

through his talents as a figurine artist,

focusing on Canadian themes in

ceramic. Further, his 1950s modeling

originals in terra cotta and baked in a

kiln, gained him the respected recognition

of his fellow Manitoba artists.

As he advanced his art, he received

major commissions from:1) the Canadian

government 2) the Provincial

governments of Manitoba and Alberta, 3)

The University of Manitoba, 4) international

universities, 5) Churches, 6) Communities and

7) private sponsors.

International success arrived with Leo

Mol’s magnificent executions of classic portrait

sculpture. “His understanding of and

portraying the essence of each subject, led to

major commissioned portraits”** placed in

capitals of the world.

In his extensive collection, illustrious are

the portrait busts of prominent people such

as: Prime Minister J. Diefenbaker, Dwight E.

Eisenhower, Winston Churchill, Queen Elizabeth

II, Pope Paul VI, Pope John XXII, Pope

John Paul II, Cardinals Slipyj and Tisserant,

the Group of Seven painters – A.Y. Jackson,

Fred Varley and A.J. Casson. Additionally,

he created monuments to Ukraine’s beloved

poet/bard Taras Shewchenko, located in

Washington, D.C., Buenos Aires, Argentina

and Prudentpolis, Brasil.

In addition, Leo Mol’s priceless art is

housed in permanent collections in North

America, international museums/galleries,

private and corporate collections. There are

22 Український Вінніпеґ - ЧЕРВЕНЬ 2017 -

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