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Catherine McTaggart, 87, globe-trotting artist

Catherine "Kitty" Marshall McTaggart, 87, of Havertown, an artist and world traveler, died of stomach cancer June 8 at home.

Catherine McTaggart
Catherine McTaggartRead more

Catherine "Kitty" Marshall McTaggart, 87, of Havertown, an artist and world traveler, died of stomach cancer June 8 at home.

Mrs. McTaggart's colorful wooden and papier-mache sculptures were influenced by her travels abroad, especially to South America. One of her works, featuring two startled eyes, an M16 rifle, and an arm holding a crucifix, was titled Tengo Miedo, Spanish for I am afraid. It was inspired by gang violence she witnessed in Brazil, her grandson John Gentile said. Her sculpture Jaguar Man featured a papier-mache man with a jaguar on his head and referred to the fragile balance of nature, her grandson said.

When Mrs. McTaggart exhibited her work at Abington Art Center in 1995, an Inquirer art critic said the sculptures "displaced the conventional uses paper has in art. Witty and mystical, these pieces are a reflection of South American myths of the past and those of the future." A year later at a show at the Wayne Art Center, the critic called Mrs. McTaggart's work "melancholic and wistful."

Besides the art centers, Mrs. McTaggart exhibited her sculptures at the James A. Michener Art Museum, the Delaware Art Museum, the Woodmere Art Museum, and other local galleries.

An artist for more than 40 years, she was largely self-taught, her grandson said. She was a member of the Art Alliance and the Institute of Contemporary Art, where she was a volunteer. She was also a member of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and was a passionate gardener, her grandson said. She traveled to 20 countries, walked the Great Wall of China in her 70s, and visited Alaska and Canada in her early 80s, he said.

Mrs. McTaggart grew up in Philadelphia and attended West Chester University. Her marriage to John W. Smith Jr., with whom she had three children, ended in divorce. In 1966, she married Thomas J. McTaggart. They had a son.

Mrs. McTaggart is survived by her husband; sons John W. Smith III, Martin Smith, and Thomas McTaggart; a daughter, Catherine Gentile; and seven grandchildren. Her former husband preceded her in death.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. today at the Willows, 490 Darby Paoli Rd., Villanova.