Lincoln Historic Site

Billy the Kid is still the star at Lincoln thanks to a New Mexico Sculptor

October 26, 2023

Greg Gurule

Lincoln, N.M. - A new addition unveiled during Old Lincoln Days this year is grabbing a lot of attention by visitors to the Lincoln Historic Site (LHS), a statue of a well-known old west desperado, Billy the Kid. A hero to some and a terror to others, he is a fixture of cowboy legend.

The statue stands next to the Anderson-Freeman Visitor Center at Lincoln Historic Site and casts Billy’s shadow on the walls of that facility and the legacy of that community. A longtime champion of Lincoln preservation, Maurice Turetsky sculpted the tribute to one of the most well-known gun slingers in New Mexico’s history. Turetsky moved to the state in 1995 and lived here until his death in 2018. He became the leading artist in the Southwest on Billy the Kid and never saw the famous tintype of Billy before he arrived here.

According to an interview Turetsky did with History Net in 2012, Maurice came to New Mexico shortly after the death of his son Josh. Those close to him noted that his early paintings of Billy resembled Josh. In that sense, Maurice’s body of work about Billy the Kid and the rest of the Lincoln County War personalities is not merely an artistic interest, but a personal exploration.

Turetsky’s wife Susan says, “The statue is also a fitting legacy of his dedication to the town of Lincoln that he loved and over the years did much to enrich its history.”

Maurice Turetsky was a professional artist, painter, and sculptor born in Philadelphia in 1935, but moved to Santa Fe with his wife Susan in 1995 and lived there until his death in 2018.

About New Mexico Historic Sites   New Mexico Historic Sites is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Board of Regents for the Museum of New Mexico. Programs and exhibits are generously supported by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and its donors. The New Mexico Historic Sites system was established in 1931 by an Act for the Preservation of the Scientific Resources of New Mexico. The eight Historic Sites include Coronado, Fort Selden, Fort Stanton, Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner Historic Site, Jemez, Lincoln, and Los Luceros.  

Related Photos

Billy the Kid Statue

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