Etching, Aquatint. 7in x 8in. 1917-1931
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David Henderson
Margaret Law graduated from Converse College in 1895 as that institution’s first fine art major. She went on to attend the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts , Art Students League, Cooper School, and New York School of Art. Law studied under both William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri, but cited the latter as the greatest influence on her work. After college she taught at Bryn Mawr Art School in Baltimore for nearly twenty years, before returning to Spartanburg in 1936, where she co-founded the spiritual ancestor of the Spartanburg Art Museum, the Spartanburg Arts and Crafts Club, with Josephine Sibley Couper.
Margaret Law is purported to have said of her work, “I put down what I see, wherever I am, and the result is a record of life in a small southern town.” Interest in real-life characters and situations was common among students of Robert Henri, and Margaret Law's "small southern town" was a cultural territory brimming with interesting characters and symbolic, pastoral rituals. Many of Law's works depict the lives and routines of rural laborers, often African Americans. The number and variety of works which deal with this theme in her oeuvre reveal a deep attachment and interest. Her etchings dealing with this theme are particularly masterful, displaying a great sensitivity to form, line, and tone.
SAM is funded in part by The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg and its donors, the County and City of Spartanburg, and the South Carolina Arts Commission which receives support from The National Endowment for the Arts.