Irene’s career path to becoming a painter most certainly had its beginning during her childhood. Her father, M.S. Samuels, from Suffern, New York, owned a watch repair and jewelry shop on Main Street in Suffern. Irene would have grown up impressed with the mathematical precision of the art of watch making and imbued with a fascination for the colors of the jewels she saw in his display cases. Indeed her middle name was chosen because her father “Sam” and mother, Ida, considered her their “little jewel”.
She graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University with a degree in Optometry and practiced Optometry until the birth of her children. She became Head of the Mathematics Department in the Saddle Brook High School.
She spent some time with her teacher Barbara in the Sonoran Desert, around Tucson, and produced a series of paintings from that environment. A collection of her paintings is listed on this website with its date. This collection is closely held in the homes of her sons, Lee, in Baltimore, Maryland, and Robert, in Saddle Brook, N.J., in the same home in which Irene did many of her paintings.