- 1930-2006 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
455 cm of textual records and graphic material
2 audio cassettes
1 video cassette
Name of creator
Sybille Christiane Pflug (née Schütt) (1936-1972), German-Canadian realist painter, was born in Berlin, Germany and died of an intentional overdose at Hanlan’s Point, Toronto Islands. Upon the outbreak of the Second World War, Pflug was sent alone to live with family friends in the Austrian Tyrol town of Kitzbühl where she remained until her early teens. In 1953, Pflug left Germany for Paris to study fashion design. On a train to Paris in 1954, she met Michael Pflug (1929-,) a German medical student and aspiring artist. At his urging, and with the encouragement of artist friends Vieira da Silva and Arpad Szenès, Christiane, who had no formal art training, began to paint. The Pflugs married in 1956 and moved shortly afterwards to Tunis, Africa where Michael had accepted a medical internship. In early 1958, Christiane and Michael held the first joint exhibition of their work at l’Alliance Française in Tunis. Christiane and the couple’s two young daughters, Esther and Ursula, joined her mother in Toronto in 1959 while Michael remained in Africa. In 1960, after completing his medical studies in France, Michael joined his family in Canada and soon began medical practice. The Pflugs settled in North Toronto, where Christiane painted her immediate surroundings including several series of city landscapes from her window, a series of interiors with dolls, and larger portraits of her daughters and her art dealer, Avrom Isaacs. In late 1962 Christiane held her first solo exhibition at the Isaacs Gallery in Toronto and was represented there until 1967, at which point Michael assumed all management of her work. She was the recipient of Canada Council grants and participated in several major national shows, winning the purchase prize at the 1964 Winnipeg Biennial. Despite her lack of formal training, she taught briefly at the Ontario College of Art in 1969. Christiane Pflug’s work is represented in several Canadian public collections including the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Winnipeg Art Gallery, as well as in
Canadian corporate collections and private collections in Europe and North America. She died, committing suicide, on the Toronto Islands in April 1972.
Prior to their donation to the Art Gallery of Ontario, components of the fonds were maintained by Michael Pflug as the Christiane Pflug Nachlass and made available to researchers. Components of the fonds were also donated to Library and Archives Canada in 1981 and were subsequently withdrawn. Much of the correspondence and other materials included in the fonds comprised the research foundation of Ann Davis’ 1991 biography entitled Somewhere Waiting: The Life and Art of Christiane Pflug, and were lent to her by Michael Pflug during the research process for her book.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
AGO credit line: Anonymous gift, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2006, and 2007
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Fonds consists of records relating to the life and work of Christiane Pflug. Textual materials include the artist’s correspondence (including translations from German to English provided by Michael Pflug), records of exhibitions, and a manuscript relating to her childhood. Visual materials include extensive photographic documentation of the artist and her family and a postcard collection used for inspirational purposes. Also included are items depicted in her paintings. The fonds also contains records documenting Michael Pflug’s activities and his life and relationship with Christiane Pflug. It includes his correspondence, manuscripts of an unpublished autobiography, and records related to the management of Christiane Pflug’s art.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
No further accruals are expected.
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Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Records related to Michael Pflug’s dispute with Oxford University Press will remain closed until 5 years following his death; otherwise access is open. Access to Special Collections is by appointment only. Please contact the reference desk for more information.
Conditions governing reproduction
Copyright is held by the creators and their heirs. Copyright belonging to other parties, such as that of photographs, may still rest with the creator of these items. It is the researcher’s responsibility to obtain permission to publish any part of the fonds.
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Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
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Arrangement: Arrangement has been performed by the archivist following the original order of the creator(s) wherever possible. File distinctions are primarily those of the creator; however, a 1998 inventory and partial arrangement of the material resulted in the collation of some files from the 1996 accrual. In these cases, filing distinctions are not those of the creator. An inventory of materials from the 1996 accrual is available, including original filing distinctions by the creator. Material has been arranged by the archivist in order of accrual.
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Dates of creation revision deletion
Description and finding aid prepared 2007 by Amy Marshall Furness
Uploaded and adapted by Nirvana Chainani, 2019
Description prepared by Meredith Ferguson.