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Newark, New Jersey, 1896
High River, Alberta, 1980
Biography synopsis
Martha Houston immigrated to Canada in 1914 after completing a B.A. in History and French at the University of Denver; she taught these subjects as well as Art at the High River, Alberta, high school. After retiring she chose to stay in High River as she found the surrounding landscapes ideal subjects for painting. During the summers, Houston attended the Banff School of Fine Arts beginning in 1963, training under Walter J. Phillips. She won honours four times at the Banff School for watercolours. Houston also took evening classes at the Alberta College of Art in 1975 in nearby Calgary. She organized the High River Sketch Club, which encouraged community interest in art for numerous years. In addition to painting, she produced black and white linoleum prints which were exhibited at the Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto, the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, and also with the Canadian Society of Painters-Etchers (Edmonton branch). Some of her prints were also published in Canadian Forum Magazine. A retrospective of her work was held at the High River Memorial Centre. Her work is held at the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the University of Alberta. She contributed to art in Alberta with the creation of the Martha Houston Memorial Award, which is granted every year through the Alberta Community Art Clubs Association (ACACA).
Media used
Banff School of Fine Arts, 1963 - ? (under Walter J. Phillips)
Alberta College of Art, 1975 - ?
High River Sketch Club
Alberta Society of Artists
Canadian Society of Painters, Etchers and Engravers, Edmonton Branch founding member
File & Archive locations
Calgary Public Library, AB - Arts Department
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts / Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, QC
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives

Writings about
"Paintings for Albertans: High River Sketch Club." Calgary Herald 24 Oct.1957
Ainslie, Patricia. Images of the Land: Canadian Block Prints 1919-1945 Calgary: Glenbow Museum, 1984
Ainslie, Patricia and Mary-Beth LaViolette. Alberta Art and Artists: An Overview Toronto: Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2007
Cochran, Bente Roed. Printmaking in Alberta 1945-1985 Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1989
Zimon, Kathy E. Alberta Society of Artists: The First Seventy Years Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2000

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