José Majzner

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José Majzner
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  • Painter
  • Sculptor
  • Master restorer

JoséMajzner[1] also known as Josif Majzner (1914–1999) was a Serbian-Canadian painter, sculptor, and master restorer.[2] He was a prolific painter and sculptor[3] who also taught art students in Montreal[4] where he lived most of his adult life.[5]


His ancestor came from Sudetenland, now the Czech Republic, to Serbia at the end of the 18th or the early 19th century. José Majzner was the grandson of Josip Majzner who lived in the Principality of Serbia and taught French at the Military Academy (Serbia) in Belgrade in the 1860s.[6]Later, he was Stojan Novaković's collaborator and deputy librarian[7] of the National Library of Serbia in Belgrade. He attended the best art academies in the 1930s in Europe. Just before the World War II he joined the Yugoslav National Movement and during the war he bequeathed his father's archives to the National Library of Serbia.[8][9] At the war's end, he resolved not to stay in a usurped country (now under communist dictatorship) and first went to Italy[5]where he gave art lessons to artists who became well-known in their own right (Alexandra Marko[10]and Serbian-American seascape artist Alexander Dzigurski[11]). In 1947 he left Rome for Buenos Aires, Argentina. In the late 1950s, he moved to New York City where he worked for a museum restoring old paintings. In the early 1960s, he left New York and came to Montreal where he opened an atelier on Clark Street where students gathered evenings in cafés[6]. Art students from École des beaux-arts de Montréal would seek art lessons from him. He was always ready to share his knowledge with young people. A few of his Montreal students became renowned painters like Armand Tatossian[12], and Dubravko Raos[13]

When a historically important portrait of the Bishop of Chiapas -- Bartolomé de Las Casas -- appeared on the North American auction block José Majzner purchased it with two other friends (Nemanja Čvorkov and Gary Slimon of the Canadaian Academy of Wilderness Artists).[14][15] He originally had restored the long-missing painting after World War II and identified the Roman Catholic bishop of the Americas even though the original painter of the turn of the 16th century remains anonymous.

Some of Majzner's work in Latin and North America was sent to Belgrade, his hometown, after the break-up of Yugoslavia. Some of his paintings and sculptures are on display in Belgrade museums.

In 1999 his atelier caught fire and he died of smoke inhalation.


  • Icons on display on the iconostasis of the Montreal Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church on Melville Avenue in Westmount.[16]
  • A bust of surgeon Drago Papich in front of the entrance of the Serbian church in Montreal is Majzner's work.
  • Muški akt[17]


  • Zoran D. Nenezić: Masoni u Jugoslaviji (1764–1980): pregled istorije slobodnog zidara u Jugoslaviji: prilozi i građa, 1984, pages 196 & 1999 cites Josif Majzner as deputy librarian of the National Library of Serbia in Belgrade.
  • Value Statement: Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Montreal cites José Majzner as the painter of the icons on the iconostasis in the Montreal church.
  • "New local galleries emphasize young artists" by Virginia Nixon and Sarah McCutcheon. The Gazette, Montreal, Saturday, June 5, 1971, page 49



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