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LUKE, Alexandra

Montreal, Quebec, 1901
Ontario, 1967
Biography synopsis
Margaret Alexandra Luke McLaughlin was born in Montreal in 1901 and grew up in Oshawa, Ontario. She started as a self-taught painter until 1945, when she enrolled in the Banff School of Fine Arts. From 1947 to 1951, she attended summer courses at the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts in Provincetown, Massachusetts. She worked with oil and watercolor, and was recognized for her bright and colorful style. Although her early paintings are considered conventional, she then moved towards abstract expressionism. In 1955 Luke traveled to Europe and refreshed her ideas and work. In 1956 Painters Eleven, a group of which she was a member, had a show in New York. One year later, the American art critic Clement Greenberg traveled to Toronto to see Luke's work, as well as the work of other Canadian artists. Her work was exhibited in several major exhibitions in Canada and she was included in the show “Canadian Women Artists” in New York in 1947. In 1952 she held her first solo exhibition at the Picture Loan Society in Toronto. In 1958 she became a member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolor. Luke was also a member of the Oshawa Lyceum Club, and the Women’s Art Association. She was a defender of avant-garde and abstract painting. She organized several artistic activities; she conducted an art centre for children in Oshawa, she organized the first Canadian Abstract Traveling Exhibition, and she opened a ceramic studio in her home. She donated her personal collection of Canadian art to the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa in 1967.
Media used
Banff School of Fine Arts, 1945 - ? (under A.Y. Jackson and J.W.G. MacDonald)
Hans Hofmann's Summer School, Provincetown, 1947 - 1951 (under Hans Hoffmann)
Painters Eleven
Ontario Society of Artists
Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour
Canadian Group of Painters
File & Archive locations
London Public Library, ON
Eastdale Collegiate, ON
University of Alberta Archives
Art Gallery of Oshawa, ON
Robert McLaughlin Gallery Archives, ON
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives
University of British Columbia - Fine Arts Library
University of Calgary Library, AB
University of Manitoba - Architecture and Fine Arts Library
Vancouver Art Gallery, BC - Library
Winnipeg Art Gallery, MA - Clara Lander Library
Art Gallery of Ontario - Edward P. Taylor Research Library and Archives
Artexte Information Centre, QC - Documentation Centre
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC
Hamilton Public Library, ON - Local History and Archives Department
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts / Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, QC
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, ON
Museum of Modern Art, NY

Writings about
"City Bequeathed Art Collection." Times-Gazette (Oshawa) 17 Jun. 1967.
"City Woman Prominent in Canadian Art Field." Times-Gazette (Oshawa) 1 Jun. 1967.
"Exhibiting Painting." Times-Gazette (Oshawa) 2 May 1958.
"N.Y. Art Show Features Works of Canadians." Montreal Daily Star 29 Apr. 1947: 9.
"Oshawa Artist at Home in Her Studio." Times-Gazette (Oshawa) 8 Apr. 1950.
"Oshawa Artist Displays Her Work." Times-Gazette (Oshawa) 15 Nov. 1961.
"Painters in Watercolour Elect Oshawa Artist To Their Society." Times-Gazette (Oshawa) 20 Feb. 1958.
Aitken, Kate. "Montreal Women's Art Chosen for NY Exhibit." Standard (Montreal) 29 Mar. 1947: 12.
Anderson, Janice. "Review of 'Locating Alexandra'." Journal of Canadian Art History 18.1 (1997): 112-119.
Ayre, Robert. The Fine Arts in Canada. 1958.
Canadian Group of Painters. Canadian Group of Painters, Exhibition 1955-1956. Montreal: 1956.
Canadian Group of Painters. Canadian Group of Painters, Exhibition 1958. Vancouver: 1958.
Canadian Group of Painters. Canadian Group of Painters, Exhibition 1959. Toronto: 1959.
Canadian Group of Painters. Canadian Group of Painters, Exhibition 1960. Montreal: 1960.
Canadian Group of Painters. Canadian Group of Painters, Exhibition 1961. Vancouver: 1961.
Canadian Group of Painters. Canadian Group of Painters, Exhibition 1962. Toronto: 1962.
Canadian Group of Painters. Canadian Group of Painters, Exhibition 1963-1964. Montreal: 1963.
Canadian Group of Painters. Canadian Group of Painters, Exhibition 1965. Victoria: 1965.
Canadian Group of Painters. Canadian Group of Painters, Exhibition 1966. Hamilton: 1966.
Daoust. "Exposition de peintures: 'Femmes peintres canadiennes'." Le Devoir (Montreal) 23 Mar. 1948: 6.
Fulford, Robert. "World of Art: Pioneers." Toronto Daily Star 4 Feb. 1961: 28.
Harper, J. Russell. Painting in Canada: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1966, 2nd edition 1977.
Jewell, Edward Alden. "Canadian Women Offer Art Display." New York Times 29 Apr. 1947: 33.
MacDonald, Colin S. The Dictionary of Canadian Artists. (Volumes 1-8 by Colin S. MacDonald, and volume 9 by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker) Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 2009.
McCarthy, Pearl. "Art and Artists: Fine Show Home Again From N.Y." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 6 Sept. 1947: 8.
McCarthy, Pearl. "Pseudo-Psychology, Bane of Abstractionists." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 4 Feb. 1961: 15.
Murray, Joan. Alexandra Luke, Continued Searching. Oshawa: The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 1987.
National Council of Women of Canada. Canadian Women Artists' Exhibition, Sponsored by Local Council of Women of Kitchener. Kitchener: Canadian Arts Council and Department of External Affairs, 1947.
National Council of Women of Canada. Canadian Women Artists, Exhibition 1982. New York: Riverside Museum, 1982.
National Council of Women of Canada. Femmes peintres canadiennes: Expositions présentée par le conseil national des femmes canadiennes. 1947.
National Gallery of Canada. First Biennial Exhibition of Canadian Painting, 1955. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1955.
Normand, Renée. "Les Arts: Le Canadian Council of Women a présenté la semaine dernière chez T. Eaton ..." Le Canada (Montreal) ? Mar. 1948.
Plaskett, Joe. " New Canadian Painters and Their Debt to Hans Hoffmann." Canadian Art 10.2 (1967): 62-3.
Repentigny, Robert de. "Enfin, les 'Onze' à leur meilleur." La Presse (Montreal) 3 May 1958.
Rodgers, Margaret. Locating Alexandra. Toronto: ECW Press, 1995.
Rodgers, Margaret and Sky Goodden. Legacies Oshawa, Ontario: Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 2017.
South Ontario Galleries. Canadian Abstract Exhibition. Oshawa: South Ontario Galleries, 1952.
Tippett, Maria. By a Lady. Toronto: Viking, 1992.
Watson, Jennifer C. Alexandra Luke: A Tribute. Oshawa: Robert McLauhlin Gallery, 1977.
Zemans, Joyce. "From Landscape to Abstractionism Alexandra Luke." Vanguard 13.1 (Feb. 1984): 16-19.

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