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Hilda Goldwag
Abstract Landscape Painting "Waterway" Glasgow Scotland


Artist; Born April 28, 1912; Died January 28, 2008. HILDA Goldwag was a Jewish refugee from Nazi persecution who enjoyed recent critical acclaim for her unique paintings of urban Glasgow of the mid-to-late twentieth century. Born in 1912 to a Jewish family in Vienna, Goldwag's artist father, Moses Leopold Goldwag, died when she was nine, leaving her mother, Szerena, to raise the family of three children. Goldwag attended Anna Schantruch Art Classes for gifted artistic children and, aged 14, was among pupils chosen to paint murals for the new St Leitener Kindergarten. She gained her Abganoszeugnis (degree) from the Graphiscme Staatslemtr und Versuchs Anmalt, Vienna, in 1938, despite the Nazi invasion of Austria. The daughter of the Nobel prize-winning physicist Max Born was studying in Vienna and asked her family (Professor Born was working at Edinburgh University) to get Goldwag a permit to leave Austria. In March 1939, Goldwag left Vienna for Scotland. Letters from Vienna were terrible: her family were forced from their home. Goldwag secured permits but tragically they arrived the day war was declared. The family was trapped and Goldwag lost them all in the Holocaust that followed. With fellow refugee and subsequent lifelong friend, Cecile Schwarzchild, Goldwag came to Glasgow in 1940 doing war work as turners at McGlashlan's engineering works. From 1945 to 1955, Goldwag was head designer at Friedlanders in Hillington, designing scarves for Marks & Spencer. She did freelance illustration work for Collins Publishers and, from 1962 to 1975, worked part-time as an occupational therapist at Forresthall Hospital. Goldwag and Cecile settled in Hill Street beside the Glasgow School of Art where they became friends with artists including sculptor Paul Zunterstein, stained-glass artist Sadie McLean and art school teacher Arthur Speirs. In 1968, they were relocated to Knightswood where the new low-rise blocks of flats offered excellent views and was close to the Forth and Clyde Canal, the subject of so many of Goldwag's paintings. From the early 1950s, Goldwag resumed painting and exhibiting. She worked principally with oils using a palette knife to apply paint and mostly working outside in situ. Paints and easel went in the shopping trolley and Goldwag carried her painted boards on and off buses to Kirkintilloch and Torrance, returning with her wet paintings laid flat on the luggage rack. In 1962, the Evening Citizen featured the diminutive Goldwag at work in Cowcaddens, capturing tenements and warehouses before demolition in her powerful and moving paintings. From the 1980s, she exhibited exuberant flower pictures, panoramic farm landscapes and intriguing canal and waterscape paintings, along with "imagined" figure paintings. She exhibited in Gourock, Greenock and at the Lillie Art Gallery, received a number of awards from the Glasgow Society of Women Artists and was a professional and exhibiting member of the Scottish Society of Women Artists, Paisley Art Club and Milngavie Art Club. In 2005, the exhibition Hilda Goldwag's Glasgow at the Collins Gallery brought her work to the notice of a new generation, highlighted her contribution documenting Glasgow's urban landscape in transition, and the richness of her artistic palette and technique. Following the death of Cecile in 1997, Goldwag lived alone, carrying on painting outside for a number of years and later inside working at her easel in her tiny bedroom/art studio. She maintained her independence, her interest in her art, and enjoyed visits and correspondence with artist friends up to her death. She was a delightful and charming person enjoying old friendships and new friendships with those who assisted her to stay independent. She was cooking and baking into her 90s. Her painful memories of her mother, brother, sister, brother-in-law and nephew never left her - she never forgot, she missed them always and their fate haunted her. Her creative output bears witness to her deep personal pain as much as to her strength of intellect, her spirit and her trained artistic talents. She has enriched the lives of many in her adopted city of Glasgow. Her works are in private homes and in public collections, including Strathclyde University, the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre and the Ben Uri London Jewish Museum of Art.


  • Artist
    Hilda Goldwag (1912 - 2008, Austrian Scottish)
  • Creation year
  • Medium
  • Movement & Style
  • Condition
    Good. minor loss to extreme edges and corners. (will be covered in framing).
  • Dimensions

    H 20 in. x W 37.75 in.

    H 50.8 cm x W 95.89 cm

  • Gallery location
    Bal Harbour, FL
  • Reference number
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