Peach Orchard

Margaret Law
SAC 1986.01

watercolor

unknown

13 x 18 inches

33 x 46 centimeters

Gift of David W. Reid

about the work

Peach Orchard is typical of Law’s mature work of the  1930s and 40s. In her own words, “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. But although obviously deeply influenced by Henri and  devoted to the themes of American Scene painting, Law incorporated  modernist influences into her work through her repetition of forms,  simplified composition, and vibrant color. Many of her works depict the  lives and routines of rural laborers, often African Americans. 


In Peach Orchard, however, theirs and other southerners' presence is implicit  rather than explicit.  Only a country road meandering into the distance  interrupts the feeling of quiet imposed by rolling hills and carefully  ordered rows of fruit trees. But the vivid palette and gestural painting  technique characteristic of her figure paintings reveals itself here,  too - in her energetic rendering of the peach trees' dark, gnarled  branches.

about the artist

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.