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Fall River, Massachusetts, 1904
Cap Rouge, Quebec, 1992
Biography synopsis
Irène Legendre, a painter of semi-abstract figures and Quebec landscapes, began her studies at the École des Beaux-Arts de Québec in 1929 under Yvan Neilson and Lucien Martial, and graduated in 1932. Seven years later she moved to New York to continue her training with Alexander Archipenko (for sculpture) and Amédée Ozenfant (for painting) until 1943. While there, she participated in a group show (1941). Throughout her career, Legendre garnered a number of awards, including Quebec provincial government grants in both 1941 and 1942, and first prize for painting in the Quebec Provincial Competition in 1945 for Le Modèl (1944). Notable exhibitions include a show of Quebecois painters (1945), the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Spring Show (1946), and a solo show of paintings and pastels at the Cercle Universitaire, Montreal, under the patronage of the Canadian Council of Arts (1950). In addition to her artistic activity, she gave a series of five talks on modern painting for Radio-Canada, which aired in 1946. In 1997 her work was chosen by the Musée nationale du Québec for inclusion in the Au Féminin exhibition, a selection of works by female artists from their permanent collection.
Media used
Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Quebec, 1929 - 1932 (under Yvan Neilson and Lucien Martial)
Private study, 1939 - 1942 (under Alexander Archipenko (sculpture) and Amedee Ozenfant (painting))
File & Archive locations
Art Gallery of Ontario - Edward P. Taylor Research Library and Archives
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts / Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, QC
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC

Writings about
"Book Review." University of Toronto Quarterly 17 (1947): 417
"Coast to Coast in Art: A Union of Talents in a Four-Man Show in Quebec." Artscanada 7.2 (Christmas 1949): 77
Collin, W. E. "Letters in Canada, 1947: Part II - VI. French-Canadian Letters." University of Toronto Quarterly 17.4 (Jul. 1948): 417
Denechaud, Jean. "Présentation d'une rétrospective des tableaux d'Irène Legendre." La Presse (Montreal) 25 Nov. 1950
Doyon, Charles. "La peinture feminine." Le Clairon (Sainte-Hyacinthe) ?
Duncan, Ann. "Beneath Pellan Another Pellan: Two Works Found in One Frame." Gazette (Montreal) 8 May 1993: K5
Forster, Michael. "Speaking of Art - Irene Legendre Show; Paintings from Paris." The Montreal Standard 25 Nov. 1950
Graham, Mayo. Jacques Hurtubise: Four Decades, Image After Image. Montreal: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1998
Jehn, Janet B. Acadian Descendants. ?: ?, 1975
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.
McMann, Evelyn de Rostaing. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Formerly Art Association of Montreal: Spring Exhibitions, 1880-1970. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988
McMann, Evelyn de Rostaing. Royal Canadian Academy of Arts/Académie royale des arts du Canada: Exhibitions and Members 1880-1979 Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981
Musée du Québec. Au féminin: choix d'oeuvres de la collection du Musée du Québec, 1920-1930. Québec: Musée du Québec, 1997
Musée du Québec. Paul-Émile Borduas, Irène Legendre, Stanley Cosgrove, Goodridge Roberts. Quebec: Musée du Québec, 1949
Ostiguy, Jean-René. "La toile cachée." Le Devoir (Montreal) 26 May 1993: A6
Prakash, A. K. Independent Spirit: Early Canadian Women's Art Buffalo, New York: Firefly Books, 2008
Tippett, Maria. By a Lady. Toronto: Viking, 1992
Tremblay, Regis. "Les femmes peintres d'içi au Musée du Québec." Le Soleil (Quebec) 3 Dec. 1994: E8
Trepanier, Esther and Landry, Pierre. Femmes artistes du XXe siecle au Quebec: Oeuvres du Musee national des beaux-arts du Quebec. Quebec, Quebec: Musee national des beaux-arts du Quebec, 2010.

Writings by
Legendre, Irène. Petite histoire de l'art moderne. Quebec: Ateliers du Soleil, 1947
Legendre, Irène. Pompon chéri. Montreal: Éditions Beauchemin, 1959
Legendre, Irène. "Letter." Artscanada 2.5 (Summer 1945): 151, 227
Legendre, Irène. "Untitled: Pompon et le lapin-fée." [Reproduction] Bulletin (National Gallery of Canada) 3 (1979-1980): 34

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