Marion Maud Finnigan - Harding - Artist


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Marion Maud Finnigan - Harding

The Saatchi Gallery

Born and raised in Canada with European parents, Marion grew up acutely aware of what it means to have Russian/Irish ancestry and to be an immigrant in a strange new land. Her parents settled in the Prairie heartland, with many others from the ‘old countries’ and she naturally evolved speaking English and Russian. She qualified as a nurse and painted as time permitted prior to relocating to London, England in the 1960’s where she worked for and married noted surgeon and gynaecologist Dr. Ernst Friedrich Blumberg. Ernst was a German descendant of Catherine the Great of Russia and was related to the Perls family, renowned art dealers and patrons

Dr. Ernst Friedrich and Marion Blumberg - 1961

Through her husband she met Pablo Picasso and spent a summer at Nimes going to bull fights. During this period she continued to paint and became an artists model for painters including H.A. Freeth, R.A. (Prix de Rome) who achieved fame for his portraits of Somerset Maugham and Yeats. This period culminated in her modelling for the Royal portraitist, Hungarian painter Arthur Pan and leaving Ernst to return to North America where she raised a family with her second husband John Harding from Chiswick, London. He had been in RAF radar while at Boscombe Down and then in the Far East. This was the beginning of a life long career in electronic design (and computer programming). He was Britain's youngest Legal Executive with the intention of emigrating to Hong Kong with Marion but they were side tracked by a car accident in Canada and the birth of their son, Ruan. Unable to practise law in Canada he reverted to electronics, designing the first tracking devices of wild animals in the North for the Canadian Government and de-icing switches for international aircraft.


Marion received a degree in Fine Art from the University of Victoria and followed up with ten years curatorial work in private galleries before finally being able to devote herself to full time painting as a professional artist. Her works are in collections around the world, sell privately through galleries and at auction.

The Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Saleroom Online

Marion Blumberg (Harding)
Arthur Pan 1962

Professor Arthur Pan - The Missing Portrait
Although little seems to have been written about Professor Arthur Pan personally, or of his career, he painted much more than is readily known. An outstanding example of his work is the portrait of the late Dr. Jacob Moritz Blumberg - distinguished German surgeon and gynaecologist, renowned for his pioneering work in pre-natal clinics and creator of the diagnostic sign that bears his name for rebound tenderness. What is less known are his humanitarian achievements on behalf of World War I POWs for the prevention of typhus.
The Arthur Pan painting of Dr. Jacob Moritz Blumberg has disappeared and its whereabouts are unknown. It belongs in a Berlin museum or the Royal College of Surgeons in London.

Portrait of Marion Harding
Painted by James Huctwith in Vancouver (1993)

Oil on Canvas portrait of Marion painted by the Canadian artist James Huctwith in 1993 in Vancouver.

Sir Winston Churchill - Arthur Pan 1943
Merchant Venturer's Hall, London.

Marion Blumberg (Harding) - Series of 5
H.A. Freeth - Royal Academician

Grandma and the boys in Trafalgar Square
H.A. Freeth

H. Andrew Freeth RA PRWS (1912-1986)
By permission of the Trustees of the Royal Society of Painters in Water-Colours. From the Dipolma Collection
Freeth was taught at Birmingham College of Art, from which he won the Prix de Rome, later becoming an Official War Artist during World War II. Also a distinguished etcher, his portraits of the famous, including W. Somerset Maugham and several prominent politicians, have probably brought him most to public attention. Sometimes reflecting Freeth's characteristic wit, his individualistic watercolours of figures, scenes and landscapes, painted with a broad brush and ink outlines, have long been popular. The apparent ease of execution conceals excellent painting technique and fine draughtsmanship.
Freeth was elected to the Royal Society of Painters in Water-Colours in 1948, and was President from 1974 to 1976. The RWS is the oldest and probably still the most active association of watercolourists in the world. The Society organises a broad range of exhibitions and events at its Bankside Gallery, on the southern shore of the Thames, as well as around Britain and overseas. The Friends of the RWS is a lively association of interested individuals and companies.
The above painting is illustrated in The Glory of Watercolour, The Royal Watercolour Society Diploma Collection by Michael Spender - Published by David & Charles.

Brief History Of Marion's Son Ruan:

Click on the links below to see Ruan's publishing career with Ricordi from 1992 and his entry into the International Who's Who In Music (1996-1997) through to his experiences and Honours in the Vatican with Saint Pope John Paul II in 1998 and later as a Healer in 2006 in Canada.
Apart from writing biographical operas on painters Ruan's career progressed from Genetics with John Maynard Smith to Composition, Spirituality and the Healing Arts. John himself would have been proud to see his student move through different disciplines as he had migrated from Aeronautical Engineering to Genetics and Evolutionary Biology and Game Theory.

Ricordi Publishers Brochure - 1992




Marion's son the composer Joshua Ruan was signed to the Italian publishing House Ricordi in 1992 and then invited by the INTERNATIONAL BIOGRAPHICAL CENTRE, CAMBRIDGE  to become an entry in the International Who's Who in Music. To better read the entry click on the PDF below.

International Who's Who In Music
Marion's Son Joshua Ruan

Joshua Ruan Entry
Composer Published with Ricordi 1992


Ruan's Confirmation from Saint Pope John II
St. Peters Basillica, Vatican City, April 11th 1998

Photos are copyright 1998 L'Osservatore Romano

Ruan Meeting with Saint John Paul II
Vatican City, April 11th 1998

Click on the link below to read the Ross Freake article on Ruan in 2006.

Ross Freake Article
Kelowna Courier 2006

Click to download Newspaper Article on Ruan in the Courier - 2006

Marion with Sculptor Lyle Sopel
Times Square - New York (Sopel Exhibition)

Marion at the Winsor Gallery
Vancouver Courier (May 14, 2003)

Celebrated Italian Friend and Artist 'Antonio'
'Oktavia Gallery' - 1995

Reverse of above photo with Antonio

NEW BLOG - Life Studies


Two of Marion's paintings in the Maiman Collection
Theodore Maiman created the laser and lived in Vancouver


Marion has a great many friends and colleagues within the artworld and can be seen here at a party discussing some new poetry by actor Jack Palance.

Marion Blumberg entry as H. A. Freeth RA model
Royal Society of British Artists 237th Exhibition 1962