Canadian (born in Germany), 1936–1972
Kitchen Door with Ursula, 1966
oil on canvas
164.8 x 193.2 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with the assistance of the Women's Committee and The Winnipeg Foundation
Raised by family friends in Germany through her formative years, Christiane Pflug suffered from insecurity and loneliness. Trained in fashion design, Pflug was largely a self-taught painter. She and her family settled in Toronto in the early 1960s in an apartment on Woodlawn Avenue, the setting of Kitchen Door with Ursula. In this painting Pflug’s sterile and claustrophobic domestic space opens onto a bleak and unearthly cityscape, where the viewer’s gaze is caught up by webs of window panes, gridded wire, and a canopy of leafless tree limbs. All the visual settling points are either obscured or mirrored mirages. A springtime scene reflected in the glass door suggests the artist’s desire for another, more uplifting, reality. The tension in this complex painting is indicative of Pflug’s personal struggle, which eventually led to her suicide.