Artworks and Artists
Paraskeva Clark
Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, 28 October 1898
Died in Toronto, Ontario, 10 August 1986
Photography: Charles Comfort
Collection of the Library and Archives, National Gallery of Canada

Paraskeva Clark

Working in Toronto from the early 1930's, Paraskeva Clark was unique as a Canadian artist in expressing her leftist political leanings on canvas. She became active in the Canadian League against War and Fascism and was a close friend of Norman Bethune (1890-1939).

Paraskeva Plistik grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia. She studied art at the Petrograd Academy renamed the 'Free Studios' after the Revolution from 1918 to 1921. Her teacher Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin influenced her with his theories about the humanist purpose of art. In the fall of 1923, Paraskeva moved to Paris, where several years later, she met Philip Clark a Canadian whom she married in 1931 and moved to Toronto.

Paraskeva Clark brought to the Toronto art scene a consciousness of the structural and formal traditions of French art derived from Paul CÚzanne and the Cubists. Her first Canadian paintings were portraits and still-lifes. Clark, however, could not ignore the political and economic crises brought about by the Depression, and the rise of Fascism. By the end of the 1930s, her work took on a new direction, as she became increasingly involved in the political issues of the day.