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 Irene Hoffar Reid  (1908 - 1994)

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Lived/Active: British Columbia / Canada      Known for: landscape, still life, portrait painting, graphics, teaching

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Lillian Irene Hoffar Reid is primarily known as Irene Hoffar Reid

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
Plants on the Terrace, 26" x 34", oil on canvas, signed and titled on verso
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Irene Hoffar Reid  (Aka: Lillian Irene Hoffar Reid; AKA: Lillian Irene Hoffar) was a painter, graphic artist, printmaker and educator.  She was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; lived in West Vancouver, B.C. (1936 – 1978); and died in Sidney, B.C. where she had lived since 1978.
Her mediums include oil, watercolour, pastel, graphite, monoprint and mixed mediums.  Her subjects are portraits, figures, landscape, urban scenes, harbour scenes, still life, shorelines, beaches, fishing scenes, genre and gardens.  Her styles are Post Impressionism, Expressionism and Fauvism.  Her work is much influenced by the Group of Seven (see AskART glossary). Quote: “In 1928 … I saw a large painting of a mountain by Lawren Harris and I felt I had never seen a mountain before.” - Irene Hoffar Reid (1989).
In 1925 she was in the first class of the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts (1). Her teachers were Charles H. Scott and Frederick Varley (see both in AskART).  In 1929 she was in the first graduating class from that school.  After an extra year of post graduate studies at VSDAA (1930); she attended the Royal Academy Schools of Painting and Sculpture (London, England) where she studied under Walter Thomas Monnington (1930-31).  She taught drawing and painting at the Vancouver School of Art from 1933 to 1937 .
She was a member (1940) and President (1958 - 1960 and 1966 -1967) of the British Columbia Society of Artists (2); a member (1959) and President (1965) (3) of the Canadian Group of Painters (see AskART glossary); and a founding member of the Pasovas Art Club (1930)(4) .
In addition to exhibiting regularly with the above organizations she also exhibited in group shows at the Vancouver Art Gallery (1932, 33, 34, 37, 38, 40, 41, 50, 51, 54, 55, 56, 57, 68, 88); the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1929, 1933); the Seattle Art Museum ( 20th Annual Exhibition of Northwest Artists - 1934 ); the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba (1957); the Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's (1974); the University of British Columbia, Vancouver (1976); the Charles H. Scott Gallery, Emily Carr Collage of Art (1980); and the Richmond Art Gallery, B.C. (1984).
She exhibited with the Canadian Group of Painters at the Vancouver Art Gallery (1961); Museum London, Ontario (1962), the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Ontario (1964) and the Charlottetown Art Gallery, P.E.I. (1964).
Her works were also included in two landmark Vancouver Art Gallery Exhibitions, “100 Years of B.C. Art " (1958) and “Vancouver Art and Artists 1931-1983” (1983).
She was one of the four, with Lilias Farley, Beatrice Lennie and Vera Weatherbie, in “First Class: Four Graduates from the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts, 1929” (1987), a touring exhibition curated by Letia Richardson.
In 1989, Heffel Gallery (Vancouver) mounted the solo exhibition “Irene Hoffar Reid – Commemorative Exhibition for the 60th Anniversary of the First Graduating Class of the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts, 1929”.
Recently, her works have been included in “F.H. Varley: Portraits into the Light” at the Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmontion), December 2007 – February 2008; and in “Canadian Women Modernists: The Dialogue with Emily Carr” at the Vancouver Art Gallery, April 19 to October 19, 2008.
Her works are avidly collected.  They are also in the permanent collections of the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (B.C.).
Her awards and honours include the Beatrice Stone Award from the BCSA  for her drawing The Valley, and the Centennial Medal  (1967) for Service to the Nation in the Arts.  Lillian Hoffar Park, in Saanich (near Sidney) on Vancouver Island was named after her and her mother.

(1) The school's evolution of names : Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts (1925); Vancouver School of Art: Decorative and Applied (1933); Vancouver School of Art (1937); Emily Carr College of Art (1978); Emily Carr College of Art and Design (1981); Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design (1995); and finally, Emily Carr University of Art + Design (2008). (Source: Emily Carr University of Art + Design).
(2) Sources differ on her terms as President of the BCSA, for example: Vancouver: Art and Artists 1931 - 1983 (see Book references) and the catalogue for the 1989 Heffel show says she was President of the BCSA from 1958 to 1960 and from 1966 to 1967; the Westbridge and MacDonald dictionaries and most other sources say only one term, 1965 to 1967.  With the help of Cheryl Siegel, Librarian of the Vancouver Art Gallery, we established Reid's term dates from exhibition catalogues and historic documents.  This is an excerpt from Cheryl's findings: "As to her terms at the BCSA – the Society fiscal years probably went from July – June.  Hoffar Reid was listed in the BCSA exhibition catalogue (spring 1958) as Vice President and in 1959 and 1960 as President.  In the catalogue for the 1966 exhibition, she is not listed as President but was clearly President when the Society disbanded in 1967.  She chaired the meetings and wrote the final letter that disbanded the society." - Cheryl Siegel, August 26, 2009.
(3) Excerpt from a National Gallery of Canada Library email to the author - “I have attached a listing of the executive members of the Canadian Group of Painters. It seems that according to this book, Irene Hoffar Reid was President of the association in 1965 and Vice - President in the years of 1962, 1962/63, 1966 and 1967.” - Andrea Koteles, National Gallery of Canada Library, August 25, 2009. The book referred to is the catalogue for the 1993 Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa, Ontario) exhibition, " Pilgrims in the Wilderness: The Struggle of the Canadian Group of Painters (1933 - 1969)".
(4) Letters represent: Pioneer Art Students of the Vancouver School of Art. (Source: Heffel Gallery)

Prepared and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.

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