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1 Margaret Lefranc is one of many women artists who found "community" through their deep relationship with the land and peoples of New Mexico. Lefranc, who was born in 1907 in Brooklyn, New York, first visited New Mexico in 1939. Since 1945, she has lived in either the Nambe Pueblo or Santa Fe, where she resides today.
Lefranc has been called "a hidden treasure" who, it is said, was too modest to claim personal recognition. This explanation of why her artistic achievements have been overlooked until now seems pat and inaccurate. Why put the blame on the artist? More likely, gendered social relations have much to do with Lefrancís work remaining mostly hidden until the 1990s. She was able to promote the work of well-known male artists such as Arshile Gorky, but not her own. Her encounter with Alfred Stieglitz in the early 1930ís seems to sum up the situation. The story goes that upon returning to the United States after her sojourn in Paris, Stieglitz saw her work and commented, "Youíre a very gifted young woman. Come back to ssee me when youíve lived in America for ten years." Of course, she never did.
Please see Margaret Lefrancís Biography, Gallery 1 (self-portraits) and Gallery 2 (New Mexico landscapes).
2 Krista Comer, conversation with Wallace Stegner published in her essay "Feminism, Women Writers and the New Western Regionalism: Revising Critical Paradigms," in Updating the Literary West (Fort Worth: The Western Literature Association and Texas Christian University Press), 1997, p.19.
3 Linda Nochlin (with Ann Sutherland Harris), Women Artists, 1550-1950 (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, distributed by Random House), 1976, p.58.
4 Thelma Gouma-Peterson and Patricia Mathews, "The Feminist Critique of Art History," in The Art Bulletin, Sept. 1987, Vol. LXIX, No. 3, p.326.
5 Sharyn R. Udall, Inside Looking Out: the life and art of Gina Knee, (Lubbock, Texas Tech University Press), 1994, p.1.
6 Krista Comer, "Feminism, Women Writers and the New Western Regionalism: Revising Critical Paradigms," in Updating the Literary West (Fort Worth: The Western Literature Association and Texas Christian University Press), 1997, p.19.
7 Katherine G. Morrissey, "Engendering the West," in Under an Open Sky: Rethinking Americaís Western Past (New York, W. W. Norton & Co.), 1992, p. 133.
8 Patricia Trenton, Independent Spirits: Women Painters of the American West, 1890-1945 (Autry Museum of Western Heritage in association with the University of California Press), 1995, p.xi.
9 Virginia Scharff, "Introduction: Women Envision the West, 1890-1945," in Independent Spirits: Women Painters of the American West, 1890-1945 (Autry Museum of Western Heritage in association with the University of California Press), 1995, p.3.
10 Great strides have been made in developing an institutional infrastructure for womenís art and art history since the 1970ís. The Womenís Caucus for Art (WCA), a caucus of the College Art Association (CAA), is now more than 20 years old and the National Museum of Women in the Arts was established in Washington D.C. in 1987.
11 In addition to compiling An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West (with Marion Yoshiki-Kovinic), Phil Kovinick was responsible for writing one of the first exhibition catalogs to deal with this subject. Entitled The Woman Artist in the American West, 1860-1960, this exhibition and catalog were pubished by the Muckenthaler Cultural Center, Fullerton, California, in 1976.