Friday, March 1, 2024

Gallery A Sanchez Family Estate Sale

On March 2 & 3, the final tip of the hat to a longtime Taos art institution will take place with an estate sale for the remaining collections of the Sanchez family of Gallery A. Two generations of the family ran Gallery A and Gallery 203 for over 50 years. Beginning in 1960 with a partnership between two artists new to Taos, Mario Larrinaga and Eric Gibberd had an idea to create a modern art gallery. They chose Frances Good as the first gallery director, then Mary & Joe Sanchez, and later Jules & Gene Sanchez ran these galleries. The gallery closed a few years ago, the remaining art was all moved to the Sanchez family home in the Taos Historic District. The home was built at the end of De Teves Lane in the mid-40’s. Through the years it would be remodeled to have a large dining room and living room with New Mexico hand carved furniture by Elidio Gonzalez, Patricinio Barela and Pat Trujillo of Taos Pueblo, along with modernist furniture, which was quite Avant Gard for its time. 

Mary Sanchez at work

‘My memories of visiting Gallery A are of grandma (Mary Sanchez) sitting at her desk always working on something busy with paperwork, typing, or crating paintings to be shipped. As children we thought nothing of the art and sculptures, we took it all for granted, these wonderful works of art. At some point Mary opened Gallery 203 next door to Gallery A, eventually the two merged. Grandmother would always say the most important part about business was location, location and location. I would often hear her repeat how people would walk up the north side of Kit Carson road and stop right at the drive way (Barela Lane) where the drive-up dry cleaners, La Bell Cleaners was located.’ Cory Sanchez

Mario Larrinago w Mary Sanchez and gallery assistants

The Gallery A stable of artists along with principles Gibberd & Larrinaga included Emil Bisttram, Dorothy Brett, Howard Cook, Barbara Latham, James Meek, Keneth Adams, Charles Stewart and Gene Kloss. Mary arranged a contract with Kloss to have an exclusive right to all of the Kloss prints sold in Taos.

Mary Sanchez

‘Around 1975 or 1976 business was not going well, apparently that winter there were not a lot of tourist or buyers. One afternoon she came home to say, “Joe, someone walked in today and bought a Larrinaga.” Which she’d sold for $7,000. She was so relieved because for a couple of months there were no sales. Larrinaga was a name my grandmother frequently brought up. Later I realized there were many of his pieces in the house.’  Cory Sanchez

Mary Sanchez & Gene Kloss

Gene Sanchez became enamored with the etchings of Gene Kloss, eventually he compiled, wrote and self published the catalog raisonne of her prints ‘Gene Kloss An American Printmaker, A Raisonne 2 Volumes’ 2009. An extensive southwest book collection along with the history of Gallery A and Gallery 203 has been catalogued and donated to the Lunder Research Center at The Couse-Sharp Historic Site in Taos by the Sanchez family.

My father, Gene Sanchez, career was designing schools in Northern NM. It was in the late 90’s that is was suggested for him to leave architecture and help with the gallery, it was time to have a transition. At the time Gene lived in Santa Fe with his wife Jules. During this transition he started to take art classes, eventually showing some of his artworks in the gallery. After some time commuting  and realizing that he enjoyed working at the gallery, the decision was made by him and Jules to move back to Taos. It was quite normal to see art on every wall in the home, Gene Kloss, Howard Cook, Emil Bisttram, Patricinio Barela, Mario Larrinaga etc.’ Cory Sanchez     

Joe & Mary Sanchez, Jules & Gene Sanchez, Anne Liebert and gallery assistants

Taos Artworks by Gene Kloss, Barbara Latham, Mario Larrinaga, Keith Crown, Fran Larsen along with curios, Navajo weavings, Taos Pueblo drums, Furniture, and millstone grinding wheels will be available at the weekend estate sale. The house is full of memories and treasures, an opportunity to own a piece of Taos history.

Gene Sanchez at work

With special thanks to Cory Sanchez for his recollections.

The Gallery A, Gallery 203, Sanchez Family estate sale takes place at 125 de Teves Lane in the Taos Historic District on Saturday March 2 and Sunday March 3, 2024.