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McCargar, William (1906–80)

William C. McCargar was born on December 28, 1906, in Newcastle, Ontario and grew up in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. A self-taught folk artist, he worked for many years for the Canadian Pacific Railway in Balgonie. He started painting as a hobby in 1958, and had his first exhibit, entitled Windmills, Wagons and Railroads, at the Dunlop Art Gallery in 1973. McCargar exhibited regularly with the Saskatchewan Arts Board annual exhibition, as well as in other local Regina shows. His work was featured prominently in Grassroots Saskatchewan at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in 1976 and in the magazine Artscanada in 1979. He also had a solo show at the Rosemont Art Gallery in Regina in 1975. McCargar died on February 18, 1980.

In April 1987, the Dunlop Art Gallery held a major exhibition of his works entitled McCargar: Retrospective Exhibition. He often painted images of rural Saskatchewan, capturing the all-familiar prairie manmade elements: grain elevators, trains, and telephone poles. His work is found in a number of private and public collections, including the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull (Quebec), the Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon), the Saskatchewan Arts Board, and the University of Saskatchewan.

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Further Reading

Newman, M. 1990. “Cargar, William Coulsen.” In Biographical Dictionary of Saskatchewan Artists: Men Artists. Saskatoon: Fifth House.
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