Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories


When her husband became a federal judge in 1962, he frequently had to travel. Although Jean already was committed to numerous causes--the Santa Fe Opera, the Museum of New Mexico and the Animal Shelter, among others--Oliver suggested she open an art gallery to help consume her vast energy. That is what she did, and in a spacious adobe house numbered 710, she "pioneered" the first gallery in what has now become the teeming Canyon Road district.

In the 20-plus years she ran it before stepping down in 1985, the Seth Gallery became both a landmark and a legend. Using her gifted eye, Jean selected "what she liked" from unknown artists, and in so doing propelled them to fame, wealth and esteem. She also represented several of the most revered masters in Western and New Mexico history, and championed all kinds of art--Indian, contemporary, sculpture, wood carving. Her Friday-night openings were huge events, the biggest in town, drawing as many as 1,000 people. Seldom has anyone given so much to art--and to Santa Fe.


Story by Richard McCord

Photo © 2007 Steve Northup