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Exhibit: Under the Blood Red Sky: James Tiernan O’Rourke’s ‘Irish Suite’

March 15 @ 1:00 pm - April 28 @ 5:00 pm


Join us at The Rourke Art Gallery + Museum for a showcase of “Under the Blood Red Sky: James Tiernan O’Rourke’s ‘Irish Suite’.” View this grand event as we exhibit prints by James Tiernan O’Rourke depicting Ireland, running from Friday, 15 March through Sunday, 28 April.

View “Under the Blood Red Sky: James Tiernan O’Rourke’s ‘Irish Suite’ ” and all of our exhibits during public viewing hours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

About the Artist:
James Tiernan O’Rourke was born in Langdon, North Dakota, in 1933 to Joseph Rourke and Mildred (Gustafson) Rourke. He grew up in the farm country of northeastern North Dakota with his older brother Orland Rourke and younger brother Vern Rourke. His grandparents’ farms, his childhood schoolhouse, and a country church which was built by his family would provide some of the subjects for his paintings and prints.

James studied art and history at Concordia College in Moorhead with Cyrus M. Running and Elizabeth Strand from 1952 to 1956. His classmates at Concordia included Joy and Philip Thompson, Kathleen Ristinen, Abner Jonas, and LeRoy Aasland. In the summers of 1954 and 1956, he also took classes at the University of Idaho and the University of Colorado respectively.

When he returned to Moorhead in 1960, James established the Rourke Gallery with his brother Orland in the former Moorhead Daily News building. James worked as the active partner in this first gallery while Orland taught at McKinley Elementary School in Fargo. James was involved in the establishment of the Red River Arts Center in 1965 and the O’Rourke Art Gallery Museum in 1973—which merged in 1975 to form the Plains Art Museum with James as executive director. During this period, he purchased the historic Franklin Sharp House in Moorhead to serve as his residence and studio. He parted company with the Plains in 1987, retaining Rourke Gallery in the Martinson House. In 1992, the non-profit Rourke Art Gallery + Museum was established.

Throughout all of his time as a gallerist, teacher, museum director, and arts leader, James never stopped making art: paintings, prints, drawings, wood assemblages, photographs, and ceramics. Much like the sites he had visited in Europe during his Army years, the history of this region and its historic architecture were major sources of inspiration for his artwork. James would often say that he simply loved art, artists, and art patrons (in that order.) His interests outside of art were great dinners, dry martinis, historic houses, and his beloved cats.

James O’Rourke passed away after suffering a fall in his home in early 2011. The Rourke Art Gallery + Museum was the benefactor of his estate, including his eclectic and impressive art collection and James’ remaining inventory of his own relief prints.


March 15 @ 1:00 pm
April 28 @ 5:00 pm
Event Category:


The Rourke Art Gallery + Museum
521 Main Ave
Moorhead, MN 56560 United States
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(218) 236-8861
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Tania Blanich is the Arts Partnership’s Director of Operations


Tania Blanich - Director of Operations - The Arts Partnership