Ernestine Tahedl was born and educated in Austria and received a Master’s Degree in graphic art from the Vienna Academy of Applied Arts. Following graduation in 1961, she collaborated with her father, Professor Heinrich Tahedl, in the design and execution of stained glass commissions until she immigrated to Canada in 1963.
Her work is represented in public, corporate and private collections and galleries in Canada, United States, France, Switzerland, Austria, and Japan. Her awards include the Graduation Prize of the Austrian Government 1961, the Bronze Medal of the Vienna International Exhibition of Paintings 1963, the Allied Arts Medal of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada 1966, and a purchase award, Concourse Artistique du Quebec 1966. In 1967, she received a Canada Council Arts Award, in 1999, the Mayor’s Prize at Kyoto’99, Kyoto, Japan, and in 2000, the Kobe Sun Prize at Flora Art 2000 at Awaji Island, Hyogo, Japan.
She was elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1977 and of the Ontario Society of Artists 1984. She received the Governor General’s Canada 125th Anniversary Medal in 1993. She was the recipient of the 2000 Arts and Letters Award from the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 and the “In Celebration of Women” Arts, long-term Achievement Award 2004. She was invited to participate in the Biennale Internazionale dell’Arte Contemporanea, Florence, Italy in 2003. Statement Although my paintings are recognizable as landscape paintings, each work does not represent a particular motif or place. It is the essence of a place that I strive for in painting. My inspiration comes from experience in travels in the Canadian Arctic and other regions of Canada, South and Central America and the Antarctic. In my studio, I filter these memories onto the canvas as an intuitive rather than an intellectual process. I explore and try to find the balance between the realistic image and the pictorial values for my paintings. The concept of multiple canvases and panels has always fascinated me. It leads me towards the medieval concept of religious paintings and their spirituality. I hope that spirituality and serenity are integral to my work. Colour and light are additional factors that guide my work. Colour to me is light.
To quote Henri Matisse, “Colour was not given to us in order that we should imitate nature. It was given to us that we can express our emotions.”