Sam Borenstein, one of the Jewish Painters of Montreal, was a renowned Canadian artist.
Born in Lithuania, Borenstein immigrated to Montreal in 1921 with his father and one sister. He first worked as a furrier’s apprentice in Ottawa before returning to Montreal, where he found employment in the garment industry. He took evening classes in drawing and sculpture.
Borenstein’s expressionist style was inspired by masters such as Chaim Soutine and Vincent Van Gogh. He began exhibiting in Montreal in 1934. His first subject was Depression-era Montreal, which he depicted with great energy and bright colours. In 1939, he travelled to Brittany, and was able to see the works of his mentors. From that point on, his painting became more focused. In the 1940s, he travelled to the Laurentian Mountains, where he painted many of his most well-known works. Although acclaimed for his colourful landscapes, full of movement and energy, Borenstein also painted portraits.
Since the 1960s, many of his works have been shown at the Galerie L’Art français. In 2005, he was the subject of an exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. In 1992, he was the subject of a documentary directed by his daughter, called The Colours of My Father.