Gabor Szilasi: The Art World in Montreal, 1960-1980

Internationally acclaimed Westmount photographer and award winning documentary photographer Gabor Szilasi’s photographs of some of  Montreal’s established artists of today is the feature of the exhibition Gabor Szilasi: The Art World in Montreal, 1960-1980 showing at the McCord Museum, 690 Sherbrooke Street West until April 29.


Wednesday evenings the Museum hosts introductions to the exhibition in English at 8 pm and in French at 6 pm.  Wednesday March 7 at 6 pm, Gabor and curator Zoe Tousignant will discuss the exhibition in the Bombardier Theater in the McCord Museum. No charge for admission.


To prepare the photographs for this exhibition exclusive to the McCord Museum, Gabor selected and printed the 43 black and white photographs selected from hundreds of 35 mm negatives he had printed over the years.


After developing each roll of film, Gabor contact printed the negative strips onto 8×10 inch contact sheets. Some of these sheets are included in the exhibition so visitors can understand the context from which each individual image was selected and determine if he made three or four exposures of the same subject or only one.


The photographs capture the personalities of the early beginnings of well-known Montreal established artists including Guido Molinari, Armand Vaillancourt, John Max, Francois Dallegret, Irene Whittome,  Claude Tousignant, when they were younger, enjoying the openings of their early exhibitions with friends.


The exhibition of candid photographs also give the viewer insight into the culture of the times: how we dressed in the 60s, 70s, and 80s – the clothes, the shoes and the hair styles.


In addition to being a photographer Gabor is also an influential teacher. He taught photography at the College du Vieux Montreal from 1971 to 1980 and at Concordia University from 1980 until 1995.


In 2009 Gabor was given the Paul-Emile Borduas Lifetime Award, and in 2010 the Governor General Award for Visual and Media Arts.


Gabor was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1928, and has been a resident of Westmount for nearly 60 years. During those years, he has documented the entire length of Sherbrooke Street  in Westmount from Atwater in the east to Claremount in the west, as well as photographing the buildings along Ste. Catherine Street West in Montreal.

He has traveled through many areas of the Province of Quebec to meet and captured on film the people of the Charlevois region, Abitibi-Temiscaming and Saguenay-Lac Saint-Jean region.

Photography books of his travels are available in the bookstore of the McCord Museum. Other books include Photographs 1954-1996 Gabor Szilasi, a catalogue of his first retrospective exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, and  The Eloquence of the Everyday, a catalogue of his second retrospective exhibition at the  Musée d’art de Joliette, Quebec,  2009. Musée des beaux–arts du Canada, Musée McCord, Kelowna Art Gallery. 

 J’e, a photographique project with Les Impatience by Gabor Szilasi was published in 2005.

Famille, photos made of his wife Doreen and daughter Andrea was published in 2008.

Gabor Szilasi CHARLEVOIX 1970 was published in 2012.


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