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Rebecca Salsbury James (1891-1968)

 

Rebecca Salsbury James was born in London in 1891 to American parents.  Her father was the creator of the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show that was performing in London at the time of her birth.  She married the photographer Paul Strand in 1922 which put her in the fascinating circle of Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, and the New York Avant Garde.

 

With no art training, James was afforded through friendship the opportunity to paint side by side with Georgia O’Keeffe.  Inspired by her already famous friend, James set out to master the difficult art of reverse painting on glass.  Like O’Keeffe, James excelled at floral still lifes, often setting her compositions on solid hued backgrounds.

 

James made frequent trips to Taos, New Mexico, between 1926 and 1932, both with her husband and with O’Keeffe.  When her marriage to Strand failed, James moved to the Taos community full time in 1937 with her new husband, Bill James.

 

Rebecca James remained active Taos until she was stricken with arthritis in the early 1960’s.  Following the sudden death of her second husband, set her financial and personal affairs in order and took her life with an excess of sleeping pills in 1968. 



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