March 3, 2021 Taos, New Mexico

The Harwood Museum of Art

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Saturday, February 20 - Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rebecca Salsbury James: Paintings and Colchas

Gallery: Joyce and Sherman Scott Gallery
Winter in Taos, 1948, oil reverse on glass, 24 x 20
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Rebecca Salsbury James, by Mildred TolbertRebecca Salsbury James was born in 1891, while her parents were traveling in London, England with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. Following her father’s death in 1902, Rebecca and her mother settled in New York. While married to avant-garde photographer Paul Strand Rebecca became a self-taught artist, working in oils, pastels, and reverse oils on glass, for which she is best remembered. In the 1930s she divorced Strand and moved to Taos, New Mexico, where she had been a frequent visitor. In 1937 she married Bill James, and remained a resident of Taos until her death in 1968.

Through all the years of her middle life her painting efforts, evidently influenced by O'Keeffe, led her to focus on works on glass. She also discovered a folk art form, colcha embroidery, using a special stitch that had been introduced to New Mexico during the Spanish colonial period. Her artistry in that field paralleled her work on glass.

During her early years she met and fell in love with Paul Strand, a renowned photographer whom she eventually married and who in turn introduced her to Alfred Stieglitz. Through the latter she met Georgia O'Keeffe. The threesome developed an intimate relationship, so much so that in time Stieglitz began taking nude photographs of Rebecca and Georgia at his home at Lake George. Her marriage to Paul Strand fell apart in 1930 - she was then 39 years old.

This exhibit will examine the diversity and skill of this relatively under-represented Taos Modern by exhibiting not only her reverse oil on glass, but also pastels, embroidery and writings. The exhibit will also serve to strengthen collaborative efforts between the Harwood Museum of Art and several other Taos non-profit art organizations that house Rebecca Salsbury James' work and archival materials.

Lecture Series

James and Her Contemporaries                                                                                                                 A lecture by Writer, Editor and Independent Cultural Historian Elizabeth Cunningham                                    Thursday, April 29, 7 pm                                                                                                                        $4 Alliance Members, $8 nonmembers

Brilliant Sunlight, Enchanted Air:  Rebecca Salsbury James in Taos                                                                A lecture by Suzan Campbell, PhD.                                                                                                      Thursday, May 20, 7 pm                                                                                                                       $4 Alliance Members, $8 nonmembers

The exhibition is sponsored in part by:  New Mexico Council on Photography, Harwood Museum Alliance, Robert L. Parsons Fine Art, Tally Richards Fund, Mabel Dodge Luhan House