Irene Hoffar Reid
1908 - 1994
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A celebrated painter of portraits, murals, landscapes and decorative panels, Irene Hoffar Reid was born in Vancouver in 1908. She attended the first class offered at the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts. She first studied under Charles H. Scott and then under Frederick Varley (1925-1929), who introduced her to the trends in art from Europe and Eastern Canada. After post-graduate studies, she traveled to England with her friend, artist Vera Wetherbie in 1930. She studied under Monnington and Russell at the Royal Academy School of Painting and Sculpture in London for one year. There she was overwhelmed by “the great works of art that were so easily seen in galleries and museums. I then realized the isolation of artists in B.C.”
By 1929, Varley and Jock MacDonald had moved their studios to a building on Bute Street. The interior was divided into several work spaces, offered to instructors and some students from the graduating class, including Reid and Weatherbie upon their return to Canada.
In 1931, photographer John Vanderpant exhibited the work of BC artists including Frederick Varley, Jock MacDonald, Emily Carr, C. H. Scott, M. S. Maynard and W. P. Weston, along with the work of three promising young painters—Fred Amess, Vera Weatherbie and Irene Hoffar Reid. This early recognition led to Reid’s appointment as an instructor in drawing and painting at the Vancouver School of Art from 1933-1937. After the birth ofher two children in the 1940s and along with “domestic demands and long periods of drawing”, Reid she began to work on a smaller scale and concentrated more on her immediate surroundings. She remained active in arts organisations including the B.C Society of Artists (Member–1940-1967, President–1965-1967), the Canadian Group of Painters, (Member–1959-1967, President–1958, 1960, and 1966-1967).
Reid participated in numerous exhibits at the Vancouver Art Gallery, The National Gallery of Canada, the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Seattle Art Museum, as well as smaller commercial galleries in Vancouver. Her awards include the prestigious Beatrice Stone Medal in Black and White Drawing for ‘The Valley’ in 1940, and the Centennial Medal for Service to the Nation in the Arts in 1960. Her work is represented in the Vancouver Art Gallery and is in many private collections.