Looking for a Dubuqe Artist and need your help!!!
Last updated on February 12, 2011 at 06:59 PM


I am a graduate student from the University of Delaware. Just what am I doing in Dubuque, Iowa?

Well, my aunt used to live here, had her life transformed in Dubuque actually. She became a nun in Dubuque, got two of her degrees in Dubuque, ran an art department in Dubuque at Clarke University, and exibited and sold her work in Dubuque.

My aunt's name, if you will, was Sister Mary James Ann. Her given name was Seraphia Ann Walsh and she entered the convent in the 1930s.

SMJA was a talented artist, a fact my family knew about but never really paid serious attention to. She died in 1980, and now, 30 years later, I am attempting to examine her work. But first I have to find it.  She was an award winning artist. She taught many art students.

From my research so far, I have discovered that she was rather proflic and her style, varied.  Much of her work was exhibited and sold in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

I seek to find people who may have purchased or inherited her work. I place no claim on what is out there- but I would like to see her work, perhaps feature it on my blog, and ask those who are privliged to own her work, how they feel about it.

Always a modern artist, her work drastically transformed from impressionistic realism to abstract modern pieces.  There is a definitive point in time when her work changed, and her later work is interesting, complex and well...not what you'd expect from a nun!

I both value and need the Dubuque and larger Iowan help in my research.  Take a look at my WordPress blog and tell me if any of her work looks familiar. Perhaps someone you know has a painting that lools like some of these photos.

If so, I'd love to hear from you!  Visit my detailed site at where you may comment and reach me.

Many thanks!


Avatar for SMJA
Bio: I am a Delaware native. I work and study at the University of Delaware. My reason for connecting with Iowa is to pursue information about my aunt who lived and taught art in Dubuque at Clarke College. I am doing research on her artwork and I am trying to connect with her students,& Iowa art world.

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