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2008 Catalog > 28. Leggett, New Mexico Village

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28. Lucille Leggett. [New Mexico Village], n.d. (1950s). Oil on canvas panel, 12 x 16". Signed in l. l. corner. “New Mexico” inscribed in ink on verso. Frame size: 16 1/4 x 20". Gorgeous presentation in a custom hand-made frame in 22K gold leaf. Fine.

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Not much is known at this time about the life and career of the southwestern regional artist Lucille Leggett (1896–1966). She was born in Tennessee and as a teenager moved to New Mexico in 1914. She married a railroad engineer and relocated to El Paso, Texas, where she studied art at a local college. She later became captivated by the desert landscape of New Mexico, especially the south-central mountains around Capitan, Carrizozo, and Ruidoso, which lay within a couple of hours’ driving distance of El Paso. In time, she gravitated north to Santa Fe, moving there in 1952 to a studio home on Canyon Road. The villages and landscape between Santa Fe and Taos soon became the primary focuses of her art.

Working with the high-keyed palette and individualized brushwork of impressionism, Leggett conveyed the sun-drenched colors and pellucid light of the desert sky in paintings of adobe houses, ranches, ghost towns, and natural features. She was particularly interested in the local way of life and its heritage, an inclination apparent in the present work, which is untitled, but which depicts a charming New Mexican village scene. Leggett presents a vignette of daily life: a compound of adobe houses is nestled against the deep-blue backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo mountains. Brightly colored washing hangs to dry on a clothesline strung between two houses. Hollyhocks climb against the wall of a house, and purple shadows creep across the road, signaling that it is late afternoon. The robin’s-egg blue sky is enlivened by the high, thin clouds characteristic of the mountain elevation.

Leggett’s painting is a delightful scene of northern New Mexico village life, executed with lively colors in a playful mood.

Ref.: Samuels’ Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West, p. 284.

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