Lillian Freiman (1908–1986) was a Canadian painter born in Guelph, Ontario, known for her paintings of ordinary people. Freiman’s work ventured into a wide range of techniques, employing pastels, crayons, watercolor on paper, oil on canvas, and wood hatching to achieve a myriad of captivating textures. Within her body of work, she dedicated studies to portraying the human head, focusing on women and bird cages. Her work is said to take inspiration from the artistic styles of Edgar Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec.
After Lilian’s family relocated to Montreal, she pursued her artistic education at the Art Association of Montreal and the École des beaux-arts de Montréal, studying under the guidance of prominent art instructors such as Edmond Dyonnet, Emmanuel Fougerat, and Robert Mahias. In 1925, with the support of her relatives, she expanded her artistic horizons by enrolling in the Art Students League in New York City. Upon her return to Montreal in 1932, she showed her work through solo exhibitions at the Jacoby Gallery and Wilson & Co in Ottawa.
Freiman sought inspiration from the Bretons’ scenery and people, which led her to reside in Paris and Brittany. Fully immersed in the dynamic art scene of Paris, she eagerly studied the works of influential artists like Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec, whose artistic expressions influenced her style. She remained in Paris for 13 years until 1938, when the outbreak of World War II pushed her out of France. Following a brief period in Toronto, Lilian finally established a studio near Carnegie and made New York her permanent home in 1939.
Throughout her artistic journey, Freiman received recognition and praise. She was awarded four prizes and a bursary during her studies at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal. Her artwork has been displayed in many art galleries, including the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston, Ontario; the Art Gallery of Cobourg; the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto; the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; McMaster University in Hamilton; and the Department of External Affairs in Ottawa, among others.
Freiman passed away in New York City at the age of 78.