McLaughlin (family)

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Family

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McLaughlin (family)

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Dates of existence

1903-2002

History

Isabel Grace McLaughlin (1903-2002) was an important Canadian modernist painter. She was born in Oshawa, Ontario, to Adelaide Mowbray and Robert Samuel (R.S.) McLaughlin, the founder of the McLaughlin Motor Car Company and the first president of General Motors Canada. Isabel grew up with her four sisters at Parkwood, her family's Oshawa estate. For her final year of secondary school, she moved to Montreal. Isabel then went to Paris where she studied at the Sorbonne (1920-1924) and received a Diplôme de Civílisation Français and a Certificat d’Études Françaises. After leaving Paris, Isabel moved to Toronto and studied at the Ontario College of Art (OCA) under Arthur Lismer (1925-1926). After leaving OCA, she joined the Art Students’ League and continued her studies with Lismer and Yvonne McKague. In her late twenties, Isabel traveled to Paris to study at the Scandinavian Academy (1929-1930). She returned to Toronto a year later. In 1933, Isabel helped found the Canadian Group of Painters (CGP); in 1939, she became the group’s first woman president. Isabel was also an active member of the Heliconian Club, a Toronto-based organization for women engaged in arts and letters. She developed friendships with many prominent Canadian artists, such as A.Y. Jackson, Lawren Harris, Prudence Heward, Gordon Webber, Alexandra Luke, Rody Kenny Courtice, Bobs Cogill Haworth, and Peter Haworth. She traveled extensively, sojourning with her friends and painting landscapes in the American Southwest, the Carribean, and throughout Canada. Isabel is an important figure in Canadian art not only because of her own painting, but also because she was an avid supporter of her fellow artists, both on the individual level and on the community level. Notable among Isabel’s acts of patronage, are her contributions to the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, Ontario. The Gallery, which is named after Isabel’s grandfather, now houses the Isabel McLaughlin Gallery, which boasts a collection of over 3,600 works of art. Despite her continued interest in art, Isabel gave up painting in the 1960s for unknown reasons. Isabel was honoured with several awards for her patronage of the arts and her activity within the art community. She was named a Fellow of the Ontario College of Art (1977), and she was a recipient of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts Medal (1990), the Order of Canada for Visual Arts (1998), and the Order of Ontario (1993). Isabel McLaughlin died at her home in Toronto on November 26, 2002.

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Authority record identifier

CA QUA02161

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Draft

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Language(s)

  • English

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  • Clipboard

  • Export

  • EAC

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