Memorable Manitobans: Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald (1890-1956)
Born at Winnipeg on 17 March 1890, son of Lionel Henry Fitzgerald (1864-1943) and Belle Dorothy Hicks (1863-1940), he spent his entire life there except for brief periods of art training in the United States and Montreal. He began exhibiting in 1911 and left a real estate job to work as an artist in 1912. In the period during and immediately after the First World War, he was commissioned to prepare honour rolls for a number of organizations and businesses.
He taught at the Winnipeg School of Art (1924-1949) and was its Principal (1929-1947). At an early age he moved to pointillism (“little strokes or spots of pigment,” he called it), particularly for landscapes, and he was much influenced by Cézanne and Seurat. In 1932 he was invited to join the Group of Seven. During the 1930s he was very impressed by the Bauhaus movement, which influenced his educational philosophy at the School of Art. After his retirement in 1949 he shifted entirely to abstractionism. The University of Manitoba awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1952. He was often linked with Bertram Brooker.
On 22 November 1912, he married Felicia Wright (1890-1962) and they had two children, Lionel Edward FitzGerald (1916-?) and Patricia LeMoine FitzGerald (1919-1976, wife of Hugh Witney Morrison).
He died at the Winnipeg General Hospital, following a heart attack, on 5 August 1956. A collection of his papers are held by the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections.
In 2004, he was inducted posthumously into the Winnipeg Citizens Hall of Fame. He is commemorated by the Fitzgerald Building at the Fort Garry campus of the University of Manitoba and Fitzgerald Crescent in Winnipeg. His Winnipeg home at 30 Deer Lodge Place is commemorated by the Memorable Manitobans: The Homes program.
Among his artistic works were the following honour rolls, the present whereabouts of many being unknown:
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
Birth, marriage, and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary [Lionel Henry Fitzgerald], Winnipeg Free Press, 13 December 1943, page 4.
“Famed city artist, L. L. Fitzgerald dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 August 1956, page 1.
“Painter’s widow dies in Toronto,” Winnipeg Tribune, 8 October 1962, page 2.
Death registration [Patricia LeMoine Morrison], British Columbia Vital Statistics.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
We thank Michael Parke-Taylor for providing information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 23 February 2023