Margaret Lefranc & Friends

Art enthusiasts enjoy a look into the works of Margaret Lefranc juxtaposed with the works of artist friends connecting the two artists in an attempt to bridge time and creativity. Please direct any questions to mckenziehi@aol.com for more information. 

Max Weber drew a joyful Dancing Figure in 1912-13 after a discouraging review. At the same time Margaret Lefranc shared her parents’ life (Abraham and Sophie Frankel) in Brooklyn and in their summer home in Hunter, New York. At the age of six, the young girl finished her first work of art of -- a bas-relief formed from plasticine of an Indian head which she saw on a nickel. Margaret stated: “From then on, all I ever wanted to be was an artist. And so I did.”

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Young Woman in Blue (Self-Portrait), 1929. Margaret Lefranc. Oil on canvas. 

29 x 21 ¼ in. 

Dancing Figure, 1912-13.

Max Weber. Watercolor on paper

on board.

25 ½ x 18 in.

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Nude Back (Early Study), 1923. Margaret Lefranc. Oil on canvas.

23 ½ x 28 ½ in.

In 1923, a few years prior to Gilpin's Rosalie and Susanna photograph, Margaret was sixteen and painting Nude Back. She made a charcoal sketch in Germany at the Art School of the West, tucked it under her arm, and after her transition to Paris with her parents, painted it in oil. She studied anatomy and painted at the Russian Academy (Academy Russe) in Paris with Basil Tchoukaieff --- a time she later called her “green period”.

Rosalie and Susanna by the Fireplace, 1925. Print reproduced from the

original photograph by Laura Gilpin.

9 ½ x 7 ⅝ in.

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Bryce Canyon, no. 2 is described as having been shot looking down into the rock formation as the sun was setting and illuminating the top of the rocks.  These photographs had, “no horizon line and no recognizable objects to give a sense of scale.  The rock towers rise from the dark in luminous, castle-like splendor”. In 1979, Gerald B. Richardson, delivered Bryce Canyon, no. 2, to Margaret Lefranc (Schoonover) as a gift.

Switzerland Mountain (from my hotel balcony), 1929. Margaret Lefranc. Oil on canvas. 

15 x 17 ½ in.

Bryce Canyon #2, 1930.

Laura Gilpin. Photograph.

20 x 16 in.

Chrysanthemums, 1930.

Margaret Lefranc. Oil on canvas. 

32 x 30 in.

Out of gas in the blasting heat of the desert in Navajo country, Laura Gilpin, 39 years of age, but quite vital, courageously walked two-and-one-half hours through an almost un-dotted horizon to get help. With only her thoughts as company, she finally arrived at Frazier’s trading post to get help, before she continued on her photographic trip to Canyon de Chelly.  Unlike others, Laura moved around to the other side of the ruins and photographed a different view of the White House which became Casa Blanca when published in Enduring Grace.

The White House, 1930.

Laura Gilpin. Photograph.

20 x 16 in. (matted)

Self-Portrait, 1928.

Margaret Lefranc. Oil on canvas. 

21 ¾ x 18 in.

The first time Lefranc publicly stated, “I was my cheapest and best model,” she was painting Self- Portrait,1928. The last time she exhibited this work was in 1995 at the Independent Spirits show in Los Angeles. Margaret noted that she was surrounded by a group of people who said,“We love your painting. It’s so strong. What did you call it?” Lefranc answered laughing, “Self-portrait of an artist with a humongous scowl”adding that she took herself quite seriously when she was young.

Self-Portrait, 1932.

Anna Walinska. Pencil on paper.

12 ½ x 9 in.

Hunter House, 1936.

Margaret Lefranc. Oil on canvas. 

13 x 18 in.

Margaret Lefranc lived in New York while funding and directing the Guild Art Gallery at 37 West 57th Street. “Anyone who was doing any work in New York exhibited at the Guild Art Gallery.” Lloyd Raymond Ney, an artist from New Hope, Pennsylvania, painted his Untitled landscape in 1935 while exhibiting in Lefranc’s gallery, gifting it to her as an apology for the trouble he felt he’d created regarding an altercation with an associate. 

Untitled, 1935.

Lloyd Raymond Ney.

Watercolor on paper.

11 ½ x 15 in.

Stillman arrived in Paris in 1921 when he was approximately thirty-years-old and returned to New York in 1933, the same year as Lefranc. Lefranc specialized in portraits during her early years and painted a portrait of Ary at his easel sometime between 1925 and 1927 By then, Stillman was well known in the art world. When they both returned to New York, he accepted Margaret’s invitations to exhibit many times at her new Guild Art Gallery.

Portrait of Ary Stillman, 1925.

Margaret Lefranc. Oil on canvas. 

18 x 13 in.

Untitled, 1932.

Eric Adamson. Oil on canvas. 

10 ½ x 13 ¾ in.

Yasuo Kuniyoshi immigrated to the United States and became a painter, photographer and print maker.  His was a sophisticated vision of merging American, Japanese and European art. Eighteen years older than Margaret, he had a short stay in Paris in 1925 and returned to stay longer during 1928-29 achieving his goal of learning how to paint from life rather than from memory before returning to New York— three years before Margaret left Paris.

Still Life, 1936.

Margaret Lefranc. Oil on canvas. 

13 x 18 in.

Still Life, 1936.

Yasuo Kuniyoshi.

Lithograph on paper.

11 ½ x 16 in.

Self-Portrait in Green, 1923.

Margaret Lefranc. Oil on canvas. 

25 x 19 ½ in.

Self-Portrait at Sixteen, 1923.

Margaret Lefranc. Charcoal on paper. 

21 ¾ x 18 in.

Lefranc met Arshile Gorky after she opened the Guild Art Gallery in 1935. She decided to give the artist a solo show after visiting his studio, where she saw his masterpiece The Artist and his Mother: “I remember going into his studio and seeing a huge portrait of his mother and himself as a boy.  It was so beautiful in its stillness and in the paint quality.  I was…bowled over by the beauty…and I accepted him into the gallery.”

Self-Portrait at Sixteen, 1923, was done by Margaret during her transition to Paris.  When she arrived, she had been drawing and painting seriously for about a decade.  She would remain in Paris for ten years before returning to New York and opening the Guild Art Gallery. After a disappointing partnership with Anna Walinska, the gallery was in danger of closing. Trying to prevent the inevitable, Walinska attempted to make peace by presenting a gift to her business partner of her own art, a drawing, Portrait of Margaret Lefranc, 1937. 

Untitled, mid-1930s.

Arshile Gorky. Pencil on paper. 

12 x 9 in.

Portrait of Margaret, 1937.

Anna Walinska. Pencil on paper.

17 x 14 in.

Ceremonial Dance, 1989.

Margaret Lefranc. Pastel on paper. 

26 x 18 ½ in.

Christmas Eve at Taos Pueblo, 1946, by Gene Kloss, is a Drypoint etching.  However, at various times during Kloss’ career, she combined three techniques into one print: traditional etching, aquatint and drypoint methods. She was also a watercolorist. Since picture taking at Indian Pueblos was not allowed during the era of Lefranc and Kloss, painting was done from memory. There was an exception, however, when the Pueblo Council at San Ildefonso gave Lefranc permission, with certain restrictions, to draw [in person] her subject(s).

Christmas Eve at Taos Pueblo, 1946.

Gene Kloss.

Drypoint etching on paper.

12 ½ x 15 ½ in.

Portrait of Annette Rada (Stevens), 1939.

Margaret Lefranc. Oil on canvas. 

24 ¼ x 18 in.

Many of Annette Rada's photographs are compelling results of a trip she took with Lefranc to New Mexico as well as travels with her husband to Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Central and South America. Her discerning eye for the poignant combined with technical skill gave sensitive portrayals of faces and places. Seminole Family, 1949 is such an example.

Seminole Family, 1949.

Annette Stevens Rada. Photograph.

10 x 13 in.

The same year Lefranc moved to Miami, the Rogoways moved to New York to the art scene, where Alfred became a top-selling artist. The Rogaways moved to Mexico, then overseas, but eventually Alfred returned to America to live with their daughter, Esther, in Arizona, also an artist, who had a studio in the back of her home where “Rog” spent the rest of his days painting. Contemplation with Music, ca.1950, is an excellent example of his well-known style of distorted fairytale figures and vibrant colors.

Man with Wheelbarrow, 1940-50.

Margaret Lefranc. Oil on canvas. 

32 x 22 in.

Contemplation with Music, ca.1950.

Alfred Rogoway. Oil on canvas.

30 x 16 ½ in.

Construction No. 2, painted in 1956, is evidence that Lefranc explored the possibility of working with abstract geometric forms. As Margaret stated of her work, “My abstractions are in the world, not in my own imagination but in something actually physical, and that’s where I leap off."  It was only later in her monotypes that she let the anchor fall away which Massin may have influenced.

Construction No. 2, 1956.

Margaret Lefranc. Oil on masonite. 

24 x 24 in.

The Racetrack, 1958.

Eugene Massin. Laquer on masonite. 

30 ¼ x 24 in.

The Existentialist, 1960.

Margaret Lefranc. Oil on masonite. 

48 x 28 in.

Audrey Corwin Wright's Untitled, swiveling on wood and finely marbled, is one of approximately ten sculptures of various sizes remaining with the Margaret Lefranc Art Foundation. The collection includes welded metal figures and flowers, an alabaster bas relief of a reclining nude and an approximately two-hundred-pound white alabaster swirling Wave on a black pedestal.  “Art is a language of vision…I search for ways to make some order in the vast scheme of things, to put beauty even with the horrid into pure pattern—not just stylized designs—from existence to essence is my endeavor.”

Untitled, ca. 1960s.

Audrey Corwin Wright. Marble & wood sculpture.

10 x 5 ¾ in.

Portrait, Alice Marriott (left) and Maria Martinez (right), 1947.

Margaret Lefranc.

Both drawings ink on paper. 

13 x 8 ½ in.; 17 x 14 in.

Maria:  The Potter of San Ildefonso, which is still in print, was published in 1948 by the University of Oklahoma Press at Norman.  “The drawings done by Margaret Lefranc are exceptionally beautiful…Maria’s and Julian’s popular designs are also the most complete survey, so far published, of the traditional designs of the San Ildefonso pueblo.”Lefranc was the first to draw pottery in the round instead of as a flat panel with no relationship to the pottery curvature. Lefranc received the Fifty Best Books of the Year Award for Illustrations given by the Library of Congress and the American Institute of Graphics Arts.  

Black on black ceramic pot, 1956.

Maria Martinez and Santana

Martinez. 4 x 6 ¼ in.

Maria: The Potter of San Ildefonso, 1947. Book. Written by Alice Marriott, Illustrations by Margaret Lefranc.

The Musicians, 1959.

Margaret Lefranc. Lacquer on masonite. 

30 x 27 in.

The Musicians, was exhibited at the Miami Beach Art Center with published comments.“M. Lefranc can lay claim to the title artist on the strength of…Musicians… done in a semi-abstract manner.” The Recorder Players by Anette Rada was one of various photographs which Lefranc’s friend took consisting of a number of works of similar musical theme and demonstrates the two women’s involvement in the culture of Miami at the time as the two associated with musicians and participated in many musical events.    

 

The Recorder Players, 1957.

Annette Rada. Photograph.

10 x 12 in.

Interior (Miami Studio), 1972.

Margaret Lefranc. Oil on masonite. 

24 x 19 ½ in.

Interior Studio (Miami), 1972, consisted of two large rooms which were upstairs in her large Matheson Avenue house in Coconut Grove which Lefranc remodeled.  This painting is a view of the second room of her studio where she invited her friends to tea or dinner which was separate from the remaining large living area facing the street. O’Keeffe’s Studio, 1960, photograph, was taken during this time. Owned by Margaret Lefranc, she gave a copy to the Museum of Fine Arts of New Mexico.

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Studio,

Abiquiu,  ca. 1960.

Laura Gilpin. Photograph. 

8 ¼ x 9 ¼ in.

Self-Portrait with Scissors, 1965. Margaret Lefranc. Oil on canvas. 

49 ¾ x 36 in.

Self-Portrait with Scissors, 1965, Lefranc painted while still using herself as a model.  She consistently said, “I was the cheapest and best model I could find.”  Margaret was fifty-eight years old.  She represented herself in three faces in a three-sided mirror, which hung over the sink in the bathroom off her upstairs studio kitchen in Coconut Grove.  But the images are not as they would have appeared in reality.  The faces in the side mirrors reflect each other as they gaze at the figure of Margaret, who is also viewing herself in the mirror she faces as she seemingly looks out towards the viewer.

Georgia O’Keeffe in her bedroom

in Abiquiu, ca. 1960.

Laura Gilpin. Photograph.

10 x 8 in.

Musical Trees, 1978.

Margaret Lefranc. Watercolor on paper. 

18 x 24 in.

Musical Trees, 1978, was painted after Margaret went with Laura Gilpin to Canyon de Chelly National Monument, a vast park in northeastern Arizona on Navajo tribal lands.  Though they frequently exchanged paintings and photographs, Laura wanted this one in particular for her collection and gave Margaret in return her Canyon de Chelly, 1976.   Before her death, Gilpin returned Musical Trees to Lefranc.

Bryce Canyon, 1976.

Laura Gilpin. Photograph. 

14 x 10 in.

Couple at the Beach, 1972.

Margaret Lefranc. Oil on masonite. 

19 x 32 in.

Couple at the Beach, 1972, Lefranc painted in Miami approximately during this time before returning to Santa Fe to meet up with Laura Gilpin who, as her best friend, always bolstered her spirits whether in person or by phone long-distance several times a week while Margaret was in Miami.  Laura, who suffered for years with a bad hip, became dependent upon Margaret for transporting her on photographic trips and for their social life which included concerts.  Since Margaret spent a great deal of time in Santa Fe and was very close to Sheldon Rice and Alicia Shafter, the founders of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festivals, she and Laura were always invited to their parties.

Margaret Lefranc Portrait

with Camera,1976.

Laura Gilpin. Photograph. 

10 x 8 in.

Sunset in the Everglades, 1964.

Margaret Lefranc. Oil on canvas. 

48 x 36 in.

Sunset in the Everglades is only one of many paintings influenced by the Everglades, perhaps as a result of Lefranc's friendship with Marjory Stoneman Douglas, dubbed the “Grandmother of the Everglades.”  This painting is an example of amorphous color forms moving into each other.  In it, the sweeping shapes of color in orange, blue, gray, tan, brown and other shades move like a storm of racing clouds and present a play of color in abstract forms, although for Margaret they represented a colorful sunset in the Everglades. 

Portrait of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, 1978.

Margaret Lefranc. Oil on canvas. 

34 x 26 in.

The Corral, Nambe, New Mexico, 1948.

Margaret Lefranc. Oil on canvas. 

18 x 28 in.

Summer Shelter in the Cove, as titled in the 1968 publication of The Enduring Navaho, is a 1934 photograph by Laura Gilpin. Margaret and Laura Gilpin both lived during an era when they encountered Indians experiencing a vanishing way of life.  Margaret lived among her adopted Nambe family for over ten years while Laura visited the Navahos in 1930s with her friend Elizabeth “Betsy” Forster, a public health nurse, but did not return for over thirty years when Forster, Gilpin, and the Navajo’s had gray hair and were almost unrecognizable but celebrated joyfully when recognition finally occurred.  

 

Summer Shelter in the Cove, 1934.

Laura Gilpin. Photograph. 

10 ½ x 13 7/8 in.

Autumn Splash, 1989.

Margaret Lefranc. Monotype on paper. 

22 x 30 in.

When Klara visited, Margaret gave a guided tour of Taos and other parts of New Mexico for Farkas to add portraits, pueblos, and landscapes to her prodigious photographs of her trips across the world.  Her sixty years of photographic history is extensive, sometimes exhibiting in the same shows as her friends along with solo shows of decades of travel to various countries—her favorites being Ethiopia with her daughter, Georgette Ballance, and another trip to the Amazon with Julia Allen Field, married to Dr. Henry Field of Coconut Grove.

Margaret Lefranc & Winter Cat ,1984.

Klara Farkas. Photograph. 

14 x 17 in.

Breakthrough, 1990.

Margaret Lefranc. Monotype on paper. 

24 ½ x 18 ¾ in.

Breakthrough, 1989 by Lefranc was pulled during her independent days and was exhibited at the Governor’s Gallery in 1992 and in the St. John’s College exhibition of Margaret’s works in 1997.  One of the prints was donated to the then named Museum of Fine Arts later known as New Mexico Museum of Art.  As the title makes clear, Margaret’s breakthrough was the creation of an abstract work entirely from her imagination with no springboard from the natural world or from any tangible object, a technique very different for Lefranc.

Garden Place Lost ,1986.

Janet Lippincott. Monotype on paper. 

17 ⅜  x 17 ¼ in.

Chatel Guyon No. 1, 1929.

Margaret Lefranc. Oil on canvas. 

12 ½ x 16 ½ in.

Chatel Guyon, No. I , painted in 1929 by Margaret Lefranc, is noted by the exhibition guide in Paris in 1991-2001, “The cubist influence and palette can be readily discerned.”  This was her first landscape and that the Chatels were her first attempt at “depicting the bulk of a hill, ” according to Margaret.  “You have a hill and changing light which affects the form--so different from studio painting.”  

Sagrada Familia,1987.

Stuart Ashman. Monotype on paper. 

44 x 30 in.

Autumn (Ghost), 1990.

Margaret Lefranc. Monotype on paper. 

21 ¾ x 17 ¾ in.

Autumn (Ghost), a monotype by Margaret Lefranc was printed at Pokrasso’s Graphics Workshop which was in business from 1981-1993.  By the time he closed the Graphics Workshop in 1993, he had worked with over 1,100 artists before he donated his business to the College of Santa Fe known as The Printmaking Center.  In 1993 Ron built a studio onto his home property to concentrate solely on his own artworks.  Except for Lefranc who was one of the more established artists to collaborate with Ron, no other artist from 1993 to 2008 worked beside Ron in his studio.  

A Rose for Margaret, 1997.

Ron Pokrasso. Ink and pencil on paper. 

19 x 16 in.

Grasses, 1990.

Margaret Lefranc. Monotype on paper. 

30 x 22 in.

Grasses, 1990, a monotype by Margaret Lefranc was created in Santa Fe at Pokrasso Graphics Workshop. In 2009, Michael Preble, Curator at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center in Newport News, Virginia (PFAC) celebrated the life and work of Margaret Lefranc over an extraordinarily productive fifty-year period. Preble stated, “A few monoprints have been included in the exhibition, An American Original:  Margaret Lefranc, Fifty Years of Watercolors to demonstrate her prowess with the most immediate of print processes.”

Acadia Lighthouse, 2000.

Michael Preble. Archival ink print photograph. 

13 ½ x 9 in.

Rose in Oaxaca, 1956.

Margaret Lefranc. Gouache on paper. 

24 x 18 in.

A Rose in Oaxaca,1956 Watercolor by Margaret Lefranc.  In an interview about Lefranc’s watercolors, “Anglin sees many qualities…in art which she singles out as pioneering…It’s a very strong way to work.  It’s not the usual feminine way to apply color.  She went way beyond anything that had been done in watercolor up to that point…Margaret was in constant search of what she wanted to do,” which was much like Anglin’s mindset.

Treasures from the Past, ca. 2012-14.

Betty Anglin. Watercolor on paper. 

12 ¾ x 9 ¾ in.

Man and His Catch, 1959.

Margaret Lefranc. Laquer on masonite.

25 x 38 in.

Bernique and Margaret had much in common though Longley was considerably younger than Lefranc and also decades younger than Gilpin; however, their creativity bonded them.  The two artists became residents of Santa Fe in a prestigious area where they both built their own homes, painted profusely, had fond memories of Oaxaca and exhibited in Alcove shows and group exhibitions at the New Mexico Museum of Art and its various name changes during the decades they showed in Santa Fe.  Both women were artistically driven.

The Dancer, 1956. 

Bernique Longley. Oil on masonite. 

36 x 27 in.

Landing in New York, 1970.

Margaret Lefranc. Oil on canvas.

38 x 25 in.

Night-Colors Last Labyrinth by Martha Kaplan was named appropriately since this was her last painting though it was to have been a series of one hundred.  The first was dated 2011.  However, with this last one, Kaplan could barely hold a brush.  The middle of the painting reveals odd bristle hair marks of black paint on white space where she dropped the paint brush.  She would not get to #100. However, she did paint other art from 2015 until her death. 

Night-Colors Last Labyrinth, 2015.

Martha Kaplan. Oil on canvas. 

36 x 27 in.

Deborah Reeder,

Author and curator

The world of Margaret Lefranc is impossible to imagine without the cataclysms of the first half of the 20th century in Europe and America.  The second half witnessed ongoing conflicts between the United States and communist regimes from the Korean and Vietnam Wars to the Cuban Missile Crisis. War, was nearly continuous (WW1, war to end all wars, WW11, Korean War, Vietnam War, 1st Gulf War)

Mass migrations took place as people fled conflict, as well as religious, ideological, and cultural persecutions, and the displacement of First People’s. 

No century has experienced as many changes as the 20th century.  From the beginning to the end, no part of life was the same. 

Telephone to Skype, Letters to Email, Typewriters to Tablets, Books to the emergence of e-books, Horses to Jet Planes, Cars supplant trains, Rural to Urban, Electric light bulb to electric everything (and batteries), Rifles to Atomic Bombs, Stock Market Crash late October 1929, Great Depression 1930’s, Black Monday Crash of October 19, 1987

 

Art from the first non-representational paintings of Kasimir Malevich to the 1966 black or ultimate paintings of Ad Reinhardt that he said were the last that could be painted, it was a century of isms. 

Art during the century was a continuous exploration of the nature of art and who declares it so and reflected the turmoil and relentless change of the 20th century.

Margaret Lefranc was a fascinating and accomplished woman who had skills beyond the usual for women of the time. Her father owned ships before WWI, and with him, she would visit the bowels and inner workings of the vessel. She listened to the crew and absorbed. 

She could build shelves and homes, fix cars, and was an intrepid driver who traversed the country in her bright red 190SL Mercedes convertible, gray hair blowing. She was interested in and knowledgeable about vintage cars, even raced them. Her education was unorthodox due to occasional ill health, including rheumatic fever and her father’s work that took the family to Europe. She spent time in Berlin and Paris and became multi-lingual. 

In Germany, she haunted the European museums and was especially moved by the artists of Die Brücke, a group for whom representational imagery, though exaggerated, remained important. 

From New York City, to Coconut Grove and Santa Fe, her life was lived in art centers. In Santa Fe, she was adopted by an Indian family at Nambe Pueblo.

Though Margaret knew many of the starving emigre artists during the depression in New York and who were hired during the Works project, some of whom became very famous for abstraction, her own paintings explored recognizable subject matter.

Her work reflects her profound interest…in the human, in our humanity, in people. No matter where she was living, she did portraits. Early on she drew in charcoal forming thick chalky strokes but as a teenager in Paris she turned to oils. Throughout her life she continued to experiment with different types of media, drawing on paper primarily with chalk at times thick and at times creating thin lines, also in pencil, ink, washes, and crayon. The focus is the human face or the figure in repose. The subjects are captured in stillness, in rest.  Lefranc confidently forms her strokes to outline models and often herself. 

 

Though the trend in art was to abstraction, non-representational, and gestural painting, she remained steady in her choice of subject matter.  The facility and brilliance of her watercolors seems to originate in Paris and her familiarity with Cezanne and Matisse. 

The political is seldom a focus in her painting, though among the few is Grieving for a Lost World from 1975.  When she was creating in color, be it a landscape, a portrait scape, or a still life, the vivid, vibrant, freshness is astonishing.

There is an introspective quality to her body of work. She has the ability to freeze time. 

Wherever Lefranc lived she made friends of artists, the cultured, and people. She was always willing to learn, to share, to try, to explore. She was no nonsense but generous, and this exhibit is a testimony to that generosity and her ability to capture an effective quiet in painting whether it is in black, grey, or white (grisaille) or a piece in a full on pure saturation of blooming gorgeous color.

Margaret Lefranc was a renaissance woman who grabbed on to the people around her and left us a legacy in paint.

Deborah Reeder is a University of Chicago (MA & Ph.D. coursework) trained Art Historian with specialties in Ancient, Medieval, and the American West with training in Design and Architecture.

From 1996 to 2019, she Directed and Curated three small art museums in the West (Washakie Museum in Worland, Wyoming; Phippen Museum in Prescott, Arizona, and the St. George Art Museum in St. George, Utah), though she has lived in every part of the United States and visited all 50 states.  Her next quest is all seven continents and seeing more opera and museums around the world. 

It was in the exhibit, Women Artists of Santa Fe, that she became acquainted with Margaret Lefranc’s work and Sandra McKenzie.  This is one of the many outstanding exhibits she is responsible for curating and hosting for over 250,000 visitors in her career, as well as extraordinary special events.

Reeder enjoys reading, especially mystery novels set in novel settings.  Gardening is another passion, along with music, theater, and traveling. 

She currently lives in St. George, Utah, surrounded by plants, books and national parks, with her two beloved felines.

Sandra McKenzie, President

Margaret Lefranc Art Foundation

Curator of Margaret Lefranc and Friends Exhibition

Margaret Lefranc was unique, not because she was an artist, but because she was the best of humankind who just happened to be an artist. She cared deeply about those around her, oftentimes serving as a catalyst for their successes. Lefranc helped many accomplish their own ultimate goals, sometimes to the detriment of her own time and funds.

In Berlin, at the age of thirteen, Lefranc witnessed with horror as men, women, and children dropped dead in the streets from hunger and illness. Feeding the hungry became her mission as an adult. She provided food and shelter for her friends and other artists in her homes in Hunter, New York; Miami, Florida; and Santa Fe, New Mexico. She gathered her artist friends from Berlin, Paris, and across the United States, including two pueblos in the Southwest U.S.

Lefranc had many more friends whose works are not present in Margaret Lefranc and Friends; these friends are mentioned in the exhibition’s connecting texts and displayed in photographs on this website (link below). We wish, as she did, to keep these individuals from fading into obscurity by celebrating their works and legacies.

Sandra McKenzie began in 1990 a nine-year process of cataloging Lefranc’s extensive body of work, which spans the better part of a century and a variety of media. “McKenzie” (as Margaret called her) arranged exhibitions, coordinated publicity and exhibit interviews, transcribed interviews for future research, and professionally videotaped the artist for posterity. In 1996, McKenzie became director of the Margaret Lefranc Art Foundation, and in 1998 she was appointed president.

 

After Lefranc’s death, McKenzie provided her research to Lois Katz, former curator of the Brooklyn Museum and Arthur Sackler Collection, for the 415-page color book A Lifetime of Imaging: The Art of Margaret Lefranc (2007). In 2005 McKenzie produced and directed a 44-minute film by the same name to accompany exhibitions. In the film, Lefranc relates her own exceptional life story—including her travels, her art, and her friends. McKenzie has also authored an article on Lefranc for the Remarkable Women of Taos collection. McKenzie currently devotes her time to the traveling exhibition Margaret Lefranc and Friends and to developing Margaret Lefranc, American Modernist in New Mexico: Indians, Sierras, and Soul, 1945 –1955, which specifically centers around Lefranc’s time in the pueblos of New Mexico. She also works with museums, universities, and others to raise scholarly and critical awareness of Lefranc’s work.

McKenzie holds a degree from Florida International University. She is the author of The Secrets in Your Name and has lent her voice and writing to numerous radio and television productions, including occasional rewrites of Harold Robbins’ The Survivors series. She has also worked as an account executive for Wang Laboratories, Sperry Unisys, and AT&T.