Imogene McConnell Ragon (1887-1980) was an important Arkansas based artist, spending most of her life in Clarksville and who become known as "The Painter of the Ozarks".
Born and raised in Clarksville, Ragon attended the College of the Ozarks and the St. Louis School of Fine Arts. Additional studies were with Eliot O'Hara in Goose Beach, Maine; Gordon Grant in Gloucester, Massachusetts; Robert Brackman in Nyank, Connecticut; Emil Gruppe and John Chetcutti in Rockport, Massachusetts; John Pike in Woodstock, New York; Pauline Bragen in Los Angeles; and with Jerry Farnsworth, Syd Solomon and Hilton Leach in Sarasota. Additional studies were done in Cloudcroft, New Mexico, Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
A member of the St. Louis Society of Independent Artists, she exhibited widely during her career. Among the venues Ragon showed at were the Philbrook Museum, Tulsa; Little Rock Museum, Little Rock; Miami Museum, Miami, Florida; Pasadena Museum, Pasadena, California; Midland Gallery, Midland, Texas; Brooks Memorial Museum, Memphis, Tennessee; gallery and traveling shows in New York City. In St. Louis she exhibited with the St. Louis Society of Independent Artists at Stix, Baer and Fuller, the City Auditorium and the 11th Annual No-Jury Exhibition, all in 1937. Ragon also won prizes and honors in many regional shows including the Little Rock Art Festival where her work was exhibited on numerous occasions. A retrospective of works by Arkansas artists including those of Imogene Ragon was staged in 2009 at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock.
A plein-aire artist, Ragon did all her work from nature specializing in both landscapes and flowers. Favorite subjects were mountains, streams, valley farms, old houses and barns, vintage store buildings, and post offices in the region. She maintained a cabin studio some nine miles north of Clarksville built on a hll overlooking a wide valley with a perfect view of the Ozark Mountains. While specializing in scenes of the Ozarks, she traveled widely painting landscapes in Michigan, Wisconsin, Virginia, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Florida, Colorado, Arizona, California, Texas, New York, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Utah, New Mexico, and in Mexico.
The artist was a long time educator, teaching for some twenty-five years at the University of the Ozarks from 1911 to 1929 and again between the years 1947 and 1955. She also gave private lessons in Clarksville.
Ragon's works are in numerous private collections as well as commercial buildings around Arkansas including the Arkansas State Bank, Clarksville; Worthen Bank; Arkansas Dermatology Clinic; and the Little Rock Dermatology Clinic. Among her creations were a series of paintings of old landmarks of Arkansas such as old homes of the Civil War era, stage coach and other inns, taverns, churches, and stores. This collection is in the possession of the University of the Ozarks where it is displayed at the Stephens Art Gallery at the Walton Fine Arts Center. The University of Arkansas-Little Rock also owns examples of her work.
Celebrated at the educational institution associated with her for many years, the Imogene Ragon Memorial Art Award at the University of the Ozarks is named in her honor.
Submitted by Jeff Jeremias Fine Arts, Denver: