Eva Prager R.I.P. 1912-2010

Written by  //  June 28, 2010  //  Absent Friends, Arts and culture, Westmount  //  12 Comments

The Oppenheimer-Prager Museum at Dayspring
Eva Prager O.C.

Marilynn Vanderstaay: Westmount loses one of its most charming personalities
The community of Westmount lost one of its most charming yet spirited personalities last week. Westmount artist Eva Prager, proud officer of the Order of Canada, passed away peacefully in her home on Thursday evening, June 24. Eva was “97 and 2/3” as she emphatically and proudly told people. But Eva never let her age get in her way of doing all the things she loved. She spent two weeks this winter in Barbados. Lunch and dinner were celebrated every day at the Bistro on Greene Avenue. And often popped into whatever event was happening at Victoria Hall.
Eva took every opportunity to share with people her project Children for Peace, which she took all the way to the United Nations accompanied by a busload of Westmounters. Always a child at heart she loved to play with her Kindereggs and other toys.
But Eva’s passion was painting. Her home on Lansdowne Avenue was filled with canvases of portraits of people she loved… personalities and dignitaries, friends and especially children. She is perhaps best known for her painting of her good friend Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Exhibited often in Westmount and beyond, her last exhibition was at the Gallery in Victoria Hall in May 2007.
Eva was the fifth generation of an illustrious family of artists. A painter of portraits and landscapes, she studied at the Academie des Beaux Arts in Berlin and the Royal College of Art in London. She was the daughter of the noted painter Joseph Oppenheimer who started the German school of Impressionism.
Eva was predeceased by her beloved husband Ernest Richard Prager. She will be sorely missed by her son, international lawyer Vincent Prager, family in Europe and elsewhere and her many friends. A private funeral will be held this month but her family and friends will celebrate her life at an event that will be held in the autumn.
26 June
Westmount mourns famous artist, Eva Prager
(Photo courtesy Vincent Prager)
Sadly, the wonderful picture of Eva has disappeared from the Gazette website.

Eva Prager, a longtime Westmount resident who lived life to the fullest by painting, swimming, walking and campaigning for world peace until weakened by a heart attack in October, died of a stroke Thursday. Prager was proud to say, she was “97 and two-thirds” years old.
Among well-known people who sat for her portraits were former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, violinist Yehudi Menuhin, physicist Linus Pauling, and former Governor-General Jeanne Sauvé.

An Officer of the Order of Canada, Prager was so active that eight days after her heart attack she went home from the hospital.
After suffering a massive stroke April 15, Prager lost a lot of her brain capacity, then returned home from hospital under 24-hour care.
Prager stopped breathing Thursday night and died at home, as per her request, surrounded by her caregivers, scores of her own and her father’s paintings and all kinds of memorabilia.
In the months preceding her stroke, Prager “went swimming almost every day in Barbados, in a swimming pool and the ocean,” her son, lawyer Vincent Prager, recalled.
“She walked 96 steps up and down to the beach until last year, then used an elevator,” he recalled.
She was pre-deceased by her late husband, Richard, who brought the family to Canada after spending Second World War in England, and her father, artist Joseph Oppenheimer.
The family had roots in Germany and England, but moved out of Germany after Adolf Hitler assumed power in the 1933 German election.
A celebration of Prager’s life is planned for the fall.

PRAGER Eva, O.C. Passed away peacefully at her home on June 24 at the age of ninety-seven and two thirds. Well-respected and renowned artist, lover of life, friend to thousands around the world, especially children, loved by all who knew her, compulsive collector of doggie bags, stones, feathers, horses, Estee Lauder bags, “Kinder” eggs and anything blue, she lived life to the fullest even travelling for two weeks to Barbados 3 months ago. She will be missed by all who knew her during her long life in Germany, England and Canada. Pre-deceased by her husband “Richie”, she is survived by her son Vincent, numerous relatives and countless friends everywhere. A small burial service will take place shortly with a celebration of Eva’s life to follow after labour day, at her favourite home away from home, the Bistro-On-The-Avenue. Special thanks to her caregivers Rina, Theresa and Ligaya and especially to her long time friend and super organizer Esther, as well as to Doddie, Roberto and Berto.”

24 May 2007
Prager presents a who’s who on canvas
If you happen to be passing the Gallery in Victoria Hall and notice some familiar faces, it’s because the City of Westmount is currently hosting an exhibition of work by Eva Prager — this community’s most venerated and easily recognizable artist.
On display until May 26, the show features an array of portraits of Canadian icons such as Pierre Trudeau and Roch Carrier, as well as the artist’s recreation of her famous father’s long-lost portrait of Albert Einstein.
Known for their spare application of bright pastel colours, Prager’s unique portraits have been a familiar sight in Westmount for many years. Through her life she has been commissioned to work on portraits of violinist Yehudi Menuhin, chemist Linus Pauling, and Canadian author Pierre Berton among many others. Included in this particular exhibition is a recreation of her father Joseph Oppenheimer’s official portrait of Albert Einstein. The original was destroyed by the Nazis in 1943, a decade after her family left Berlin for London. (They eventually came to Canada in 1949) This recreation is based on her memory of her father’s work.
Prager’s oil study of Pierre Trudeau is also included beside twin portraits of sons Justin and Alexandre. Other Canadian figures such as astronaut Marc Garneau, author Roch Carrier, former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and National Ballet founder Celia Franca are also featured. Aside from portraits, she also has exhibited a few landscapes, mostly scenes from her home on Lansdowne Avenue.

On a blustery and snowy Thursday, April 12, [2007] PWM held its fourth biennial Artists for Artists Art Auction in the Liane & Danny Taran Gallery of the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts. As guests literally came in from the cold they were warmed and delighted by the numerous works of art that were displayed on every inch of the gallery walls. …

The auction began with a tribute by Clare Schapiro, Artistic Director of Imago Theatre to Eva Prager, O.C. renowned portraitist and activist who charmed the audience with her story of Queen Elizabeth.

9 February 2000
Eva Sophie Prager, O.C.
An artist of international repute, she is known for her landscapes, still lifes, drawings, illustrations and portraits. Generous with her work, she has donated many pieces to museums, hospitals and charitable causes. She is a humanitarian whose love for children is reflected in her professional and volunteer work. She founded the Montreal-based Children for Peace movement, which, among other activities, developed a peace program for schools.

12 Comments on "Eva Prager R.I.P. 1912-2010"

  1. Dave Anger September 19, 2010 at 4:56 am ·

    I recently came across what appears to be a pencil sketch (Approx. 5″ X 6″) or 6 children in various stages of completion with some coloring of their clothing and skin tones. They appear to be of different races (Negro, Caucasian, Oriental, etc.) The drawing is signed Eva Prager (printed) and has some water mark damage. I was wondering if it may be something that she did in connection with her Children for Pease project?I haven’t been able to find any of her work on the web to compare it to, so far.It would be an honor to have a something that she had created for a project she cared so much for.
    She certainly led a fulfilling life of achievement and style. And from all the good friends and family she had, it is evident that she was well loved.

    If you could guide me to someone or someplace that would allow me to continue my research, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

    • vincent pragert April 7, 2015 at 12:59 pm ·

      I just saw your comment and would be please to answer all questions regarding my mother.

      please get in touch


      Vincent Prager

      By the way my mother was born in 1912 NOT 1913! NOTE FROM DTN – Corrected!

  2. C. Paul Young April 15, 2011 at 8:11 am ·

    I had the great pleasure to meet Mrs. Eva Prager after looking for an excellent and known artist to commission for a portrait of Dean Robert Donald to be given to Dalhousie University Law School, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

    Her wonderful portrait of Dean Donald was given by the Class of 1969 and hangs in a place of honour in the law school.

    Though I had not seem Mrs. Prager for some years as I rarely got to Montreal in recent years another painting by her of a setting, I believe in Rhode Island, has graced my home since our initial meetings in Montreal in 1970.

    Very belatedly, my sincere regrets to her Family and especially her son Vincent; she was a wonderful person and a wonderful artist

    Paul Young

    • VINCENT PRAGER April 7, 2015 at 1:03 pm ·

      Thanks Paul for those lovely comments. The picture would likely have been Rockport Massachusetts, not Rhode Island!

      My mother did a second Dalhousie Law deen – MacDonald – as well, and, when I last visited the law school, both pictures were hanging side by side.


      Vincent Prager

  3. Irene August 26, 2012 at 9:59 pm ·

    Hello- Eva Prager created 2 beautiful large pastels of my sister and I, one of each in St. Sauveuer Quebec- I believe it was her summer home? I was almost 5 years old at the time, My sister 15, and I have a beautiful memory of the hills full of daises. I remember sitting and posing at her table, after she fed me some very good soup. I don’t know how we came to be at her home, I believe her husband was a friend of my fathers. It is a lovely memory of my childhood and the kindness of Mrs. Prager. My parents loved the pastels of their 2 girls, and they have always hung in every home we had over the years. I remember the summer day that Eva Prager created my portrait and cherish it to this day.

    • VINCENT PRAGER April 7, 2015 at 1:05 pm ·

      Thank you very much.

      We have opened a museum in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea N.B. for the works of my late mother and grandfather. The website is http://www.museumatdayspring.org. Take a look and come visit!

      If you can scan and email photos of your pastels and any further information for our archives that would be great.


      Vincent Prager

  4. Dan Spiegel April 6, 2015 at 8:12 pm ·

    April 6, 2015


    I was doing some research on Mr. Oppenheimer and his works of art, when I stumbled upon this site. I have wonderful memories of Mrs. Prager, when her Dad, Mr. Oppenheimer was doing my portrait as well as my 4 younger brothers way back in the 60’s – I remember walking or biking to the house on Rosemount Ave – Mrs. Prager was kind and lovely woman.

    With fond memories,

    Dan (Danny) for, Tommy(deceased), Johnny, Andy and Jimmy – The Spiegel Boys

  5. Dan Spiegel April 6, 2015 at 8:36 pm ·

    Hello again,

    I stand corrected – it Mrs. Prager who did our portraits, except for Jimmy, who was painted by Mr. Oppenheimer.


    Dan Spiegel

  6. VINCENT PRAGER April 7, 2015 at 1:16 pm ·

    Hi Dan

    Very interesting

    We opened a Museum for the Oppenheimer and Prager works in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea N.B.last year.

    The Museum website for the works of my mother and grandfather is http://www.museumatdayspring.org

    I’d love to get photoes of the paintings for our archives. Perhaps you could scan and email them to me.



  7. sheila midanik March 31, 2018 at 4:06 pm ·

    Eva Prager painted a portrait of my brother and me in 1962 in Ottawa. My brother and I clearly remember Mrs. Prager painting our portraits at the Beacon Arms Hotel. My Mother was a customer of Mrs Prager’s husband who sold women clothing. Our Mom died in 2002. We still have the portraits and wonder if they are of value. Mo brother lives in Arizona and has no children. I have 1 son who lives in Europe. I don’t want to see these paintings sold at some garage sale. Please let me know if you can help us.

    • Diana Thebaud Nicholson April 1, 2018 at 9:50 pm ·

      I am forwarding your message to Eva Prager’s son Vincent and I am sure he will get back to you.
      Thank you for contacting me.

  8. sheila midanik April 26, 2018 at 3:55 pm ·

    left message re my portrait and my brother’s done by Eva Prager. Havent heard from Vincent Prager and wonder if he can suggest what we can do with the portraits

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