Historical society receives DeLavy collection
Photograph of Edmond DeLavy taken by Elliot Porter
In January the general public had the privilege of viewing an unprecedented exhibit of a collection of work by the celebrated artist Edmond DeLavy. A resident of Bernalillo for over thirty years, DeLavy was was best known for his paintings of Southwestern landscapes and illustrations of life in New Mexico in the mid-twentieth century. He worked in collaboration with the author John Sinclair, a friend who also lived in Bernalillo.
A total of fifty-five paintings and illustrations by DeLavy were displayed at the Sandoval County Historical Museum during the month of January. The collection was a gift to the museum by Marion DeLavy, sister of Edmond DeLavy.
DeLavy and his sister were raised in New England. Edmond had a lifelong fascination with cowboys and their lifestyle, so when he finally came to New Mexico at the age of thirty-one he fell in love with the area. He expressed his feelings to John Sinclair, who was the curator of the Coronado Monument at the time (1959). At Sinclair's suggestion he filed a claim to homestead the land adjacent to the monument, and with the help of two friends built the little home that still stands today on Edmond Road. Sinclair and DeLavy worked together for years, with DeLavy illustrating the stories of Western life written by John Sinclair. Their combined work includes writings and illustrations for New Mexico Magazine, and the book Cowboy Riding Country, depicting life in Roswell, New Mexico.
Upon his death in 1989 DeLavy left all the original illustrations from Cowboy Riding Country to the Roswell Museum in Roswell. One of his paintings currently hangs in the Albuquerque Museum, and another at the University of New Mexico. DeLavy left his house to the Sandoval County Historical Society to serve as a meeting place and museum to house their collection of historical material. The historical documents include materials about the pueblos and villages in the area. Appropriately, many of the works that DeLavy created there in his studio have now returned and will be added to the museum's historical collection.
Martha Liebert, the archivist of the society, expressed the members’ delight at learning of Marion DeLavy's bequest a year ago. Liebert explained that the collection of Edmond DeLavy's work owned by his sister was divided into two portions: half were bequeathed to the historical society and half to other DeLavy family members. It took approximately a year for DeLavy's will to be probated, but when the paintings were turned over to the society at the beginning of the year they were immediately put on display for public viewing.
The collection was displayed for one month in the new wing that the historical society built in May of 2002. The modern wing added over fifteen hundred square feet to the original rustic house that DeLavy built. Portions of the collection will be on display in the museum on a rotating basis throughout the year. They will hang in DeLavy's house, where the artist had his studio.
The museum is open to the general public every Sunday from 2:00 to 4:00 pm.
If you missed the big exhibit in January, you will have another chance to see it in the future. The museum plans to show the entire collection once a year in the new wing.
The next exhibit at the museum, to be mounted in March, will display textiles from many cultures around the world.
The Sandoval County Historical Society Museum is on Edmund Road just west of the Coronado Monument. The new wing, which holds 150 people, is available to the public for community use. For more information, contact Martha Liebert at 867-2755.
“Ponies on the Ridge,” painting, by Edmond DeLavy
New Mexico folklore focus of Corrales lecture
On March 18 Jo Roybal Izay will speak on “New Mexico Folklore, ” a presentation of the Corrales Historical Society Lecture Series.
New Mexico folklore abounds with versions of La Llorona, an old woman who frequents the sides of ditches and waterways looking for naughty little children. There are many who believe there are brujas waiting to cast a hex on an unsuspecting souls, and los que están agonizando, the dying who come in spirit to bid farewell to loved ones. Superstitions? Actually, it was once a way of life in many New Mexico communities.
The free program will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the Old San Ysidro Church on Old Church Road in Corrales. Refreshments will be served after the program. Come and hear more about this fascinating part of New Mexico’s history. For further information, call 897-9109.