McNay Collection /  Southwest Art
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Southwest Art

On summer visits to New Mexico, Mrs. McNay amassed a large collection of Native American and New Mexican folk art. She acquired several dozen santos—both retablos (paintings) and bultos (sculptures)—when Catholic churches in New Mexico replaced their folk art masterpieces with store-bought church art. These simple yet powerful works suited her taste for bold color and form, and their roughhewn naïve character answered her love for seeing the artist’s hand at work. Mrs. McNay also obtained fine collections of Rio Grande blankets, ceramics, jewelry, furniture, and paintings by the American Indian school established by Dorothy Dunn, as well as watercolors by members of the Taos Society of Artists.

Complementing Mrs. McNay’s works is an exceptional group of kachina dolls given by Jane Stieren Lacy. The skills for creating these figures, which symbolize the spiritual beings of the Pueblo people, transferred easily to Spanish saint-makers who carved bultos for the mission churches.

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