FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 23, 2018
(Santa Fe, NM) – Famed Santa Fe artist Maurice Turetsky died Tuesday, Feb. 20. A professional artist, painter and sculptor, Turetsky, a Philadelphia native and his wife Susan, moved to Santa Fe in 1995.
"Fort Sumner Historic Site will be the first stop for a new exhibit titled Becoming Billy,” said Aaron J. Roth, Historic Site Manager at the Fort Sumner Historic Site and Bosque Redondo Memorial. “This exhibition features the works of Maurice Turetsky, who was an artist, a passionate creator and a believer in the complex identity of Billy the Kid. Exhibits like Becoming Billy will allow visitors to make connections not only to local Fort Sumner history but to regional New Mexico history as well.”
Department of Cultural Affairs cabinet secretary Veronica Gonzales said, ‘Last year we opened a stunning exhibition with several of Maurice’s paintings at Lincoln. He was a treasure and we will miss him. “
Turetsky’s exhibition “The Principal Characters of the Lincoln County War” now serves as the anchor exhibit in the recently opened “Lincoln Gallery of Western Art.” Turetsky’s portraits bring to life the individuals who participated in one of New Mexico’s most significant historical events in ways that are often lost through traditional museum exhibits.
“Maurice Turetsky’s passing marks the loss of a true champion of New Mexico’s cultural history,” said Tim Roberts, manager of the Lincoln Historic Site. “We at the Lincoln Historic Site are especially saddened at this news as Maurice’s contributions to the site through his artwork has been a major component of our interpretive efforts for well over a decade.”
“The loss of Maurice is deeply saddening but his work and love for our state’s heritage will live on through the artwork he poured so much love and talent into,” Roberts said.
Turetsky admitted he had never seen the famous tintype of Billy the Kid until he was nearly 60. Subsequently he rendered versions of it in pastel paintings, bronze sculpture and painted steel cut-outs. Lincoln State Monument has many of Turetsky’s portraits of Billy the Kid and other key figures in the Lincoln County War. The Due West Gallery in Santa Fe also often features Turetsky’s work.
Turetsky graduated from Philadelphia’s Tyler School of Art where he studied under the dean, Boris Blai who had been an assistant to Auguste Rodin. Before devoting his passions to art full-time in Santa Fe, Turetsky worked in the health and design industries in Detroit.
In 2010, Turetsky was honored with the award for Outstanding Single Contribution to Wild West History, in recognition of his artistic and historical portrayal of the principal characters of the Lincoln County War exhibit by the State of New Mexico at the State Historic Site in Lincoln.
“Maurice Turetsky was a devoted friend to New Mexico’s historic sites,” said Patrick Moore, director of New Mexico Historic Sites. “His love and fascination for the West created a ripple effect that sparked curiosity and exploration among those who experienced his art. He will be greatly missed.”
About New Mexico Historic Sites: http://nmhistoricsites.org/ On March 14, 1931, the New Mexico Historic Site system was established by an Act for the Preservation of the Scientific Resources of New Mexico, to "declare by public proclamation that historic and prehistoric structures and other objects of scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the State of New Mexico, shall be state monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof such parcels of land as may be necessary to the proper care and management of the objects to be protected." Under the direction of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, six of seven sites are active and open to the public: Fort Sumner Historic Site/Bosque Redondo Memorial, Coronado, Fort Selden, Jemez, Fort Stanton and Lincoln. The El Camino Real Historic Trail Site closed in 2016 until further notice. In 2004, the historic Barela-Reynolds House and Property in Mesilla, was designated a state historic site upon its donation to the state by the John Paul Taylor family. Mr.& Mrs. Taylor will retain a life estate on the property that will not be open to the public until their deaths. Events, news releases and images about activities at New Mexico Historic Sites, and other Department of Cultural Affairs divisions can be accessed at media.newmexicoculture.org