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Robert Ihrig
Robert Ihrig was a prolific artist.  He died in 2005 leaving behind a body of work that encompasses paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture, books, blueprints, theatre designs, illustrations, mixed media, etchings, silkscreens, lithographs, films, and notebooks with plans for screenplays, animated films, plays and exhibits.  The art is from as early as 1950 and continues through 2004.
Bob exhibited and was involved with many, many art shows, galleries, museums, collectives, art associations and alliances. He has permanent pieces at Michigan State University, The Stratford Festival and Gallery Stratford to name a few.

Robert Ihrig was born in Lansing, Michigan in 1931. His father Henry Ihrig, a designer and photographer, was born in Germany and immigrated to Stratford, Ontario. His mother, Emmamae Ewart, was originally from Stratford. Ihrig had two siblings, his older sister Agnes and younger brother Fritz.

Ihrig received his Master of Arts Degree from Michigan State University in 1956. He moved to Stratford in 1957.  His career with the Stratford Festival spanned four decades. During his tenure with the Festival, Ihrig worked as a dresser (1957), prop maker (1958-1968), and founder and Director of the Exhibition Hall (1958-1960).  He served as the Supervisor of Exhibits (1961-1968), Exhibits Coordinator (1990-1994, 1997-1998), and worked part time in the archives/exhibitions department (1998-2004). He won the Guthrie Award in 1958 for his redesign of the Stratford Festival Theatre Exhibitions held in the Stratford City Arena. Ihrig designed and curated many theatre projects including the 10th, 20th, 30th and 40th Stratford Festival Anniversary exhibitions; and assisted with the 50th Anniversary exhibition.

In 1966, Ihrig was the director of the Stratford Art Association, a group of painters who had been in existence since 1945 and were looking for a permanent location to display art. Ihrig approached Rothman’s Pall Mall of Canada Limited and persuaded them to fund  the renovations to the former water works buildings on Romeo Street, and to provide annual grants to operate a gallery year around within the space. Ihrig designed and supervised the renovation of this new gallery, and was appointed its founding Director in September of 1966-1971.  The gallery opened its doors under the name Rothman’s Art Gallery on June 16, 1967; and later became Gallery Stratford. Ihrig also designed the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery (1972-1980) where he was the director and curated many exhibitions including the Group of 7 exhibit in Sault St. Marie. He was a Curator at the London Regional Art Gallery — now Museums London (1980-1985).

The original Robert Ihrig Art Gallery is from approximately 1962 through 1998. Bob worked in many mediums including, oil, pastels, ink, enamel, acrylic, conte`, gouache, charcoal, pencil, watercolour.  His art is figurative, portraiture, theatrical.

Many of his pieces are inspired from the Stratford Shakespearean Festival theatre productions which he was involved with for decades. He maintained an artists studio in Stratford where he also taught classes in life drawing.  

Robert Ewart Ihrig 
September 11, 1931- November 27, 2005
Resided in Stratford, Ontario, Canada
Born in Lansing, Michigan, USA
Bachelor of Arts, Theatre Design, Michigan State University
Masters of Fine Art, Painting, Michigan State University
Stratford Festival 1957-1999 Props, Exhibits, Archives
Founded/ Director of Stratford Festival Exhibition Hall 1958
Tyrone Guthrie Award for Exhibits 1959-60 to study art in Europe
Director of the Stratford Art Association 1966
Director and Designer of Rothman’s Gallery, now Gallery Stratford, 1966-71
Director and Designer of Kitchener-Waterloo Regional Art Gallery 1972-80
Curator of London Regional Art Gallery, now Museum London
Member of Gallery 96 artists cooperative
Initiated and taught the Open Studio Life Drawing Classes, Stratford
Artist/Food Stylist-Stratford Chef’s School
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