Biography of Mary Reardon, Professor of Art

Mary Reardon
Emmanuel College Professor of Art (1952-1970)

Mary Reardon, Professor of Art, 1952-1953 MA (Mary Agnes) Reardon was a liturgical artist, portraitist and teacher during the 20th century. Born on July 19, 1912, she was the middle child of Mary Agnes (Cashman) and Daniel B.  Reardon MD. MA Reardon and her brothers Paul and George grew-up in Quincy, Massachusetts. After graduating from Quincy High School in 1929, she attended Radcliff College and Yale University’s School of Fine Arts where she earned a BA (1934) and BFA (1938), respectively.

After earning her degrees, MA Reardon continued to hone her skills earning a honorable mention at the Challoner Prize Foundation (1937) and established a studio at 30 Ipswich Street in Boston, Massachusetts. She participated in many different projects that included: sketching wounded service men of the Second World War (1941-1945), illustrating children’s books (1942-1946), exhibited her work at the Institute of Modern Art, now the Institute of Contemporary Art ( 1944) and assisting David Siqueiros with mural paintings in Mexico (c. 1948-1949). In the 1950s, in addition to becoming a professor of Art at Emmanuel College in Boston,   Reardon began to lead her own artistic projects that would include murals for St. Peter and Paul’s Church (1952), Cardinal Spellman High School (1955-1958), and St. John’s Seminary (c. 1958-1959), all in or around the Boston area.

MA Reardon continued her work into the 1960s when she designed mosaics for at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC (1964-1966, 1970-1973), created a portrait of her brother Justice Paul C. Reardon of the Massachusetts Supreme Court (1966), and won the President’s Medal at the Second International Exposition of Sacred Art in Italy (1966). In the 1970s Reardon not only continued her work at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, but also designed the artwork for the new building of St. Mary’s Cathedral (c. 1973-1977). MA Reardon continued, in her relocated studio at 12 Martins Lane, Hingham, Massachusetts, her artwork into the 1980s when she designed mosaics for St. Louis Cathedral in St. Louis, Missouri.  It was during this period that she painted portrait of Humberto Cardinal Medeiros (c. 1979), Robert Gilmore MD (c. 1985) and Judge Francis P. Murphy (c. 1987). Although MA Reardon entered semi-retirement in the 1990s, she continued to practice her craft by taking part in art exhibits and designing artwork for churches near her home in Hingham, Massachusetts. These included St. Paul’s Church in Hingham (c. 1996) and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Cohasset, Massachusetts (c. 2000).

She was honored for her work by Emmanuel College with a honorary doctorate in 1999. MA Reardon died on May 8, 2002, leaving behind an impressive artistic record of liturgical and 20th century artwork.

Resources: