THE NATIVE MARKET OF THE SPANISH NEW MEXICAN CRAFTSMAN, 1933-1940
By Sarah Nestor
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Anglo-Americans in New Mexico were a major cause of the decline of traditional Spanish New Mexican crafts in the nineteenth century; in a reverse swing, they helped to bring about a revival in the twentieth century. When the railroad came west in the 1880s life in New Mexico changed almost overnight, and crafts which had thrived in isolation declined rapidly. Then in the 1920s and 1930s artists, anthropologists, educators, and other patrons in the state, recognizing the unique beauty and charm of New Mexico's Spanish colonial crafts, saw the need not only to preserve crafts from the past, but also to encourage their revival in the present.
Foremost among these patrons was Leonora Curtin of Santa Fe. Born into a prominent but rather bohemian family, she was instrumental in promoting this revival. In 1934, during the darkest years of the Great Depression, Native Market was born. This endeavor, which became the forerunner of today’s world famous yearly Santa Fe Spanish Market, was Leonora’s brainchild. Greatly involved in the local art scene of the times, Leonora recognized the pressing need to preserve the rapidly vanishing traditional craft production of Spanish speaking artisans of the region. Through her leadership, dedication, and outreach, New Mexico’s Hispano crafts people and artists were given renewed opportunities to market their often enchantingly beautiful creations through the successful commercial venture known as Native Market.
This is that story.
Inside This Book