A Tribute to Harriet Irving: Early Highlights from the Permanent Collection

Alex Colville (Canadian, b. 1920), Railroad over Marsh (detail), 1947, oil on canvas. Gift of Mr. Albert Werenfels

May 31 - September 4, 2016    |    Regular Exhibition

Welcome to the Harriet Irving Gallery, a newly-refurbished, state-of-the-art gallery made possible by the generous support of Jim, Arthur, and John Irving and their families as part of the current revitalization of your Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

Harriet Irving was one of the founding members of the Gallery’s first Board of Governors who were entrusted by Lord Beaverbrook himself to oversee the development and safekeeping of his magnificent gift of both an art gallery and a world-class art collection to the people of New Brunswick.  We are grateful to the Irving family for this wonderful opportunity to honour and celebrate Harriet Irving through the establishment of the Harriet Irving Gallery and the Harriet Irving Endowment in support of exhibition programming, and through this special inaugural exhibition: A Tribute to Harriet Irving: Early Highlights from the Permanent Collection. Presented is a selection of some of the outstanding treasures that were acquired in the first years of the Gallery’s operation and that helped to establish the Gallery’s early identity as a collections-based institution committed to serving community.

Curated by Terry Graff and Jeffrey Spalding, and organized by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

About Harriet Irving

Harriet Lila (MacNarin) Irving was born on July 12, 1899 in Galloway, Kent County, New Brunswick. She met Kenneth Irving in Bouctouche and they were married in 1927. Together they moved to Saint John where they raised their three sons, James, Arthur and John.

Harriet had a great love for her family. She was a kind and caring woman and always showed a special interest in young people. Through her commitment to her community, and for her many contributions, she is remembered for her genuine care for others and generous hospitality to all.

Harriet loved flowers and especially enjoyed gardening at her Mount Pleasant home in Saint John. She loved New Brunswick and was passionate in her support of her home province, its people and its culture.

She and her husband, Kenneth were good friends of Lord Beaverbrook and they had a strong respect for one another. Harriet served as a member of the inaugural Board of Governors of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery when it opened in1959. She always loved visiting this special place and would be very honoured to see this gallery, a gift from James, Arthur and John Irving, named in her honour.