Fonds MSS 349 (A2011-015) - Leo Mol fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Leo Mol fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Graphic material
  • Object

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Reference code

CA UMASC MSS 349 (A2011-015)

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Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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  • 1945 - 2007 (Creation)
    Mol, Leo
    Winnipeg (Man.)

Physical description area

Physical description

3.68 m textual records
0.5 m ephemera
2527 photographs
3054 slides

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Leo Mol, an internationally acclaimed Winnipeg sculptor, was born in January 15, 1915, in Polonne, Volhynia gubernia, Russian Empire (now Ukraine) under the name of Leonid Molodozhanyn (Molodoshanin). His father was a commercial potter and Leo worked for him from his early childhood. Leo’s father wanted him to continue the family business but Leo’s plans were different. He studied at the Leningrad Academy of Arts (1936-41), at the Wilhelm Frass’ studio in Vienna (1941-42), and after being hired by Fritz Klimsch, a well-known Berlin sculptor, he was accepted into the Kunst Academy in Berlin (1942-45).

In 1943 Leo Mol married his wife Margareth and in 1945 the family moved to the Netherlands after the Soviets occupied East Germany. In the Netherlands they spent some time in a refugee camp Eindhoven. In the town of Schijndel Leo Mol discovered a small ceramic factory and produced molds for figurines. He advanced to the position of supervisor and continued his studies at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.

The Berlin Blockade, launched by the Soviets in (1948) persuaded Leo to move to Canada where he adopted the pseudonym Leo Mol. Leo and Margareth sailed to Halifax and continued their journey by train to Saskatchewan. They were destined to work on a farm near Prince Albert. They arrived in the winter, and there was no work on the farm. Leo Mol left for Winnipeg in search of employment and found work in a church supply store owned by Ukrainian-Canadian cartoonist and church painter Jacob Maydanyk. Leo worked hard for low wages decorating churches in Winnipeg, Brandon, and St. Anne. He supplemented his income by creating fine ceramic figurines with Canadian themes. They are considered now some of the best ceramics in Canada.

Leo Mol was well known for his busts and sculptures of famous personalities such as President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Pope John-Paul II, Allan Eastman, Jacques Hnizdovsky, several Group of Seven painters, and many more. He received several commissions from the Canadian Government, the Provincial Governments of Manitoba and Alberta, the University of Manitoba and the Ukrainian Catholic University in Rome. Leo Mol also participated in many national and international competitions and produced monuments to John Diefenbaker, Max Bell and the Taras Shevchenko monuments in Washington, D.C., Buenos Aires (1971) and St. Petersburg (2001).

Leo Mol executed over 90 stained glass windows for churches in Manitoba. The most famous windows adorn the SS. Vladimir and Olga Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Winnipeg. In the 1970’s Leo Mol produced large life-sized figures of women. These nudes included “Hope”, “Dream”, “Europa”, “Balance”, “Negro Girl” and many more. During his artistic life he also created drawings of nudes. Leo Mol was primarily a sculptor but he was also a painter who created many beautiful paintings and drawings. His paintings depict Canadian and European landscapes.

In 1989 Leo Mol decided to donate his personal art collection to the city of Winnipeg. The Leo Mol Sculpture Garden was officially opened in 1992. This outdoor gallery is open to the public free of charge. People come to enjoy this unique and outstanding display of art and it attracts many visitors every year.

In 1995 the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden received the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association Award of Excellence for Innovation, and the Manitoba Parks and Recreation Department Award of Merit.

During his life Leo Mol received many awards and honors. He was a member and a past Vice President of the Manitoba Society of Artists and the Society of Artists and Sculptors of Canada. He also held memberships in many organizations such as the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, the Allied Artists of America, the Muenchener Kuenstlergenossenschaft, and the Society of Ukrainian Artists in Diaspora. Leo Mol received honorary degrees from the University of Winnipeg (1974), the University of Alberta (1985), the University of Manitoba (1988). He was inducted into the Order of Canada (1989), the Winnipeg Citizens Hall of Fame (1990), the Order of the Buffalo Hunt (1997), and the Order of Manitoba (2000).

Leo Mol’s work is recognized all over the world and his artwork can be found in galleries, museums and private collections in Canada, Europe and the United States. He passed away on July 4, 2009.

Custodial history

The fonds was donated by Margareth Mol, wife of Leo Mol, to University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections in 2011.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of Leo Mol’s biographical information, correspondence, awards and honorary degrees, documentation regarding art work and the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden, and exhibitions and tributes.

The photograph collection consists predominantly of Leo Mol’s photographs and slides of his sculptures, paintings and drawings.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


The collection is arranged into 16 series (including PC 308, the Photograph and Slide collection)

  1. Biographical Information
  2. Degrees and Awards
  3. Awards (Artefacts)
  4. Leo Mol Sculpture Garden
  5. Lists of Mol's Exhibitions, Art Works, and Library
  6. Artists, Politicians, Philanthropists (including many whose portraits were sculpted by Mol) - Correspondence, photographs, and printed matter
  7. Popes and Religious Figures - Correspondence, photographs, and printed matter concerning portraits and statues
  8. Other Monuments, Statues, and Plaques - Correspondence, photographs, and printed matter
  9. Stained Glass Windows - Correspondence, photographs, and printed matter
  10. Various Projects, Competitions, Communications - Correspondence, photographs, and printed matter
  11. Various Personalities and Organizations – Correspondence, photographs, and printed matter
  12. Art Galleries and Art Organizations – Correspondence, photographs, and printed matter
  13. Ukrainian Organizations and Individuals - Correspondence, photographs, and printed matter
  14. Ceramics and Casting - Correspondence and invoices
  15. Exhibitions and Tributes
  16. Photograph and Slide Collection (PC 308)

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

There are no restrictions on access.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Researchers must abide by current copyright legislation.

Finding aids

A finding aid can be downloaded by clicking on the “Download’ link under “Finding Aid” on the right hand side of the screen.

Generated finding aid

Associated materials

The Leo Mol Sculpture Garden in Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg:

The Leo Mol fonds at the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg Archives:


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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Finding aid created by Vladimira Zvonik (2011). Revised by N. Courrier (April 2020).

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