THÉRÈSE FRÈRE,
ARTIST-PAINTER
 
Born Thérèse Brochu on 14 October 1926 in Saint-Philibert, Quebec, Thérèse Frère graduated from the École normale Laval de Mérici in Québec in 1945 with a first prize in arts. After teaching for two years, she took over a school in La Beauce, then in Charlesbourg. She went to Toronto in 1948, learned English and continued her studies at the Bilingual Stenographers’ College in Ottawa. She met her husband, and they had six children. Her husband died in 1968, and the children were then aged 4 to 12. She worked for 13 years as a secretary in Vanier schools for the Ottawa Separate School Board. Devoting that part of her life entirely to her family, she did not take up painting again until 1974. She attended the Ottawa School of Art, evenings and weekends, to continue her artistic training. In 1981, she went to the Banff School of Fine Arts and became interested in other media, including watercolours. She subsequently studied pastels, which became her preferred medium. Over the years, she continued her training, travelling in Europe and many Canadian regions to study contrasts and colours. She is known for her enchanting landscapes in pastels, oils and watercolours, especially of the Outaouais area. Between 1981 and 2009, she showed her works at fifty or so solo and group exhibitions. Many of her works grace local art galleries in Quebec and Ontario. Her residence was gradually transformed into a studio and a gallery over the years. Through her community participation, especially in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, she was involved in the 1960s catechistic revival in the parish of Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes in Vanier. She received the Ontario Bicentennial Medal in 1985, and the following year she was honoured for her art by L’Institut canadien-français d’Ottawa. In 1983, she received honourable mentions for a work entitled "Coin de la rue Mutchmore à Hull". One of her works won a prize at the National Association of Canadian Pastellists Exhibition in 1989, and was featured in the Guide Vallée as a professional artist. She was a member of the Vanier Library Board, the Vanier Mural Committee (PubliArt), the group “Ontaroises Sept” and the Pastel Society of Canada – Category I, as well as the chair of the Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee (LACAC) in Vanier. She was also honoured by the Ottawa Art Association, the National Association of Canadian Pastellists, L’Association des enseignantes et enseignants franco-ontariens as well as Le Service des arts, de la culture et des lettres of Gatineau for an exhibition of her works representing the Outaouais area. She also painted Newfoundland landscapes and villages. Many of her works were used to illustrate cover pages of art books, school books, poetry collections and literary works. Many of them can be found in public and private collections in Canada, the United States, Japan and Europe. She met with students at Ontario’s French-language primary and secondary schools to promote their creativity as well as the need to protect the environment and their heritage. Her works can be admired in the art book Hull et sa région en peinture (1990). In 2001, she took part in a project called "Démocratisation de l’Art: La marée aux 1000 vagues", giving talks illustrated with slides of art works at primary and secondary schools in Ontario and Quebec. When she turned 80 in 2006, she published her autobiography entitled Par delà…l’horizon. For her first book launch, she held an exhibition at the Galerie Montcalm, Maison du Citoyen de Gatineau, named after her autobiography: "Par delà… l’horizon". In the spring of 2009, Thérèse Frère closed her studio and donated all her works to the foundation of the Ottawa Richelieu Club No. 1. The 155 pastels, created between 1978 and 2006, were sold and the profits went to support the charitable work of the Ottawa Richelieu Club.