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Margaret Law was the daughter of a Presbyterian minister who was a former chaplain in the Confederate Army. Her family was a prominent one in upstate South Carolina, and Law was well-educated before she began her career as an artist and teacher. After graduating from Converse College in Spartanburg in 1895, she continued her studies at the Art Students League and later at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Among her teachers were William Merritt Chase, Charles Hawthorne, Robert Henri, and Andre L'Hote. Her first job after World War I was as an art teacher at Bryn Mawr in Baltimore. While living in Maryland, Law's style became more expressive and spontaneous. Most of her work began on-site with a palette knife. These studies were then refined in the studio into finished prints or paintings. Though clearly devoted to the themes of American Scene painting, Law incorporated modernism into her work through her repetition of forms, simplified composition, and vibrant color. Interest in real-life situations is common among students of Ashcan School founder Robert Henri, and this interest is reflected in the titles of Law's works, most of which were created long before the American Scene idealization of the worker during the 1930s and 1940s. In 1936 Law returned to South Carolina where she taught school and was eventually named art supervisor for the Spartanburg School District. Remembered by friends and family as a person of "boundless enthusiasm," Law frequently did what were considered outrageous things for a lady of her upbringing. During her seventies, she learned to tap dance, and she drove across Mexico alone. It is said that she would paint on anything available, including the cardboard from shirt packages. Taken from: Worksong, The Greenville County Museum of Art, 1990.
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