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Ernest Marza, Canadian painter and world of art nouveau

Carollyne Yardley and Ernest Marza (home and studio visit, May 14, 2012)

Carollyne Yardley and Ernest Marza (home and studio visit, May 14, 2012)

Back in March 2009, I first experienced a visit to the magical world of Ernie Marza.  He describes it as his little world of art nouveau.
Today, I popped over there again, and was overwhelmed. Except this time – my eyes were prepared for the feast and eager with anticipation.

While Ernie has most of his own paintings in his studio room, he reserves the living room for works by other painters from other centuries, a fine collection that he has accumulated over the decades from artists living as far away as Europe and South America. (click for video + story

Ernie gave us a lovely tour of his personal art collection. Each painting, lamp, sculpture or ornament has a story. Most paintings have been adorned with frame handcrafted by Ernie himself. His carved, painted and inlaid frames not only match a painting, but each one acts as if it had always been apart of the piece.

Hand made frame with light fixture, Ernest Marza

Hand made frame with light fixture, Ernest Marza

Ernie Marza’ passion for elaborate picture frames makes him one of the people who have influenced me in pairing ornate frames with paintings. I love to collect ornate frames, and use them to frame my work. I would love to add embellishments such as light fixtures, like Ernie does, in future.

Ernie’s passion and experience with art history, and collectables is masterful. He is a great storyteller, and  I like to imagine his adventures have been legendary.

Crow watching, except during this picture when he turned his head.

Crow watching, except during this picture when he turned his head.

While we were there, his crow came by to inspect the visitors. The crow, he says, ‘followed me from his previous residence.”  This crow sits on the patio and watches Ernie while he paints. Today, the crow flew away when I went to snap a picture, but he sat in the tree watching for the rest of our visit.

Dracula, Ernie Marza

Dracula, Ernie Marza

Back in 2009, he allowed me to collect one of his Dracula paintings, only he says, “because we both come from the same part of the world.”  I like to think we also come from a blissful world where everyone dances, loves romances, and wonders how a squirrel got a fabulous hat in that lovely shade of blue.



Cabinet made by Ernie Marza

Cabinet made by Ernie Marza




  1. Fantastic! I have admired your artwork at Bolen Books, and on Oak Bay Avenue for several years…love the dancers, frames and lamps you have created. I paint to a degree, in acrylics, and hope to one day have a show on my own. I keep on painting, and have sold some and given many away. I am an older student, and surprise myself at times in achieving some rather good works.

    Thank you for sharing YOUR wonderful work with all of us, Mr. Marza.


    Marjory Blair

    Comment by Marjory Blair — September 4, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

  2. Thanks Marjory for posting your thoughts and admiration for Mr. Marza’s work. I know he reads my blog now and again, so he’ll be happy to read this. I will also pass on your good words should I see him too.


    Comment by carollyne — September 14, 2012 @ 11:54 pm

  3. Hello,
    I am a Canadian graduate student studying the decorative arts in New York.
    Mr. Marza’s work is incredible. I am so pleased to have found it! It is wonderful to see a contemporary artist working in the true spirit of Art Nouveau.
    Kind regards,

    Comment by Rebekah — September 28, 2012 @ 10:32 am

  4. Hi Rebekah,

    I’m so glad you got a chance to see Ernie’s world through photos. It is truly a magical place in person.
    Best, Carollyne

    Comment by carollyne — October 1, 2012 @ 7:32 pm

  5. I’m a second-generation fan of Mr. Marza’s paintings – my mother and aunts started buying his paintings back in the 70s when we moved to Vancouver. I inherited some of my mother’s Marzas when she died in 1987. Now I live in Ottawa, with little chance of seeing his work out here, but thanks for the lovely photos of his home! I had no idea he had so many other talents besides painting. Thanks again!

    Comment by Wanda — October 21, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

  6. Ernest is the most amazing artist and also a wonderful, special human being. It has been a total privilege to get to know him as a friend and neighbour.
    ps. does he really answer to “Ernie”?

    Comment by Helen Walker — October 22, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

  7. Hi Helen,

    Yes, he is quite the gentleman, and such a storied life of art appreciation. Yes, he seems to be known by colleagues as Ernie, and that’s how we’ve come to know him whenever we get frames restored, art, etc.

    Many thanks for your comments!


    Comment by carollyne — October 24, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

  8. Thank you so much for commenting. So glad you got to enjoy a virtual experience of Mr. Marza’s passion and collection. It is a real museum experience!


    Comment by carollyne — October 24, 2012 @ 4:06 pm

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