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Hardieville, Alberta, 1914
Fort Macleod, Alberta, 1996
Biography synopsis
A self-taught folk artist of imagined pasts and invented histories, Irene McCaugherty's paintings reflect an interest in narrative and story-telling. She first turned to art as a therapeutic practice when recovering from an illness, and only began painting later in life. Having lived most of her life in Lethbridge, Alberta, she was enthusiastic about its history and that of Alberta as a whole, often writing articles on past events for the Lethbridge Herald. This preoccupation is evident in her watercolour paintings. Her works can be found at the the Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Galt Museum, Lethbridge, and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. McCaugherty received an Alberta Achievement award in 1992, and an Honourary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Lethbridge in 1995, for her work preserving the history of Southern Alberta.
Media used
File & Archive locations
Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, QC - Media Centre
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives
University of Calgary Library, AB
Vancouver Art Gallery, BC - Library
Winnipeg Art Gallery, MA - Clara Lander Library
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts / Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, QC
Artexte Information Centre, QC - Documentation Centre
Calgary Public Library, AB - Arts Department
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC
Canadian Museum of Civilization Archives, QC
Glenbow Archives, AB - Main Catalogue

Writings about
Brennan, Brian. "Folk Art Was My First Love." Calgary Herald (16 Jan. 1997): B12
Harrison, Jane. "The Uncommon Art of Common Folk: Folk Art Has Good Looks and a Quirky Personality." Calgary Herald 24 Mar. 2007: G3
Houghtaling, Kim. Folk Art of Alberta. Grand Prairie: Prairie Art Gallery, 1993
Laviolette, Mary-Beth. "A Woman's Work is Never Done: Folk Art Celebrates Capable Women of Western Canada." Calgary Herald 6 Apr. 2002: ES.08
Nielsen, Leslie, et al. Investing in Art: Series 1 and Series 2 [videorecording]. Edmonton: Alberta Foundation for the Arts, 1990
Rasporich, Beverley. "Rodeos, Ranching and the House of Tea: Irene McCaugherty and Esther Warkov reinvent the West." Challenging Frontiers: The Canadian West. (editors Beverly Jean Rasporich, Lorry W. Felske) Calgary, Alberta: University of Calgary, 2004: 345-365
Rasporich, Beverly Jean, et al. Western Place, Women's Space: Susan Ross, Esther Warkov, Irene McCaugherty. Calgary: University of Calgary, 2001
Stebbins, Joan and Janet Walters. Irene McCaugherty: Watercolours, Southern Alberta Art Gallery. Lethbridge: Southern Alberta Art Gallery, 1982
Tippett, Maria. By a Lady. Toronto: Viking, 1992
Wickens, Barbara. "Honourable Mentions." Maclean's 108.23 (6 May 1995): 11

Writings by
McCaugherty, Irene. Cindy's Story. Fort MacLeod: Irene McCaugherty, 1995
McCaugherty, Irene. Enjoy My World. Fort MacLeod: Irene McCaugherty, 1975
McCaugherty, Irene. I Just Couldn't Say Goodbye and, Shadows of the Past. Fort MacLeod: Irene McCaugherty, 1995
McCaugherty, Irene. Painting Clouds of Doubt With Sunshine. Fort MacLeod: Irene McCaugherty, 1996
McCaugherty, Irene. The Ladders We Climb. Fort Macleod, Alberta: : Irene E. McCaugherty, 1994
McCaugherty, Irene. Yesterday's Memories. Fort MacLeod: Irene McCaugherty, 1988

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