Marilyn Lanfear [1930-2020]

by Glasstire January 21, 2020


Marilyn Terry Lanfear, a well-known San Antonio-based artist, died Sunday, January 19. She was 89. Lanfear worked in  water color, oil paint, sculpture, fiber and more, and her work is in permanent collections in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Bentonville, Arkansas, and more.

The Waco native was raised in Corpus Christi where she attended Del Mar College, and later transferred to The University of Texas at Austin. Later, Lanfear received an MFA  from The University of Texas at San Antonio. She remained in San Antonio and taught drawing, design, and painting at San Antonio College, then at the University of Oregon at Eugene, and William and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, before making her way to New York City in the mid-1980s.

Marilyn Lanfear, Diana’s Huipil with Una Talla and Handwoven Labels, 1987. San Antonio Museum of Art, Anonymous Donation

There was a recent solo exhibition of her work at the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) titled Marilyn Lanfear: Material Memory, which ran from August through November of 2018. Via SAMA: “Motivated by personal family history and the urge to preserve memories, Lanfear’s body of work is a testament to her rich Texas heritage and her industrious spirit. Whether by assembling a collection of carved wooden shelves or soldering a blouse made of lead, Lanfear demonstrates a dedication to the process of art making, techniques, and materials. She elevates the everyday to speak to a common shared experience both through the presence of objects and through what, or who, is missing.”

Marilyn Lanfear at work

From an obituary posted on Porter Loring’s website: “Marilyn was one of the artists who helped organize events around The Artist and The Quilt that opened at the McNay Art Museum. The show traveled and eventually was purchased by the Philip Morris collection. It was also documented in a book.”

Lanfear was a mother, grandmother and great grandmother, and is survived by her four children, Theresa Helms (John), Richard Lanfear, Genie Lanfear, and Daniel Lanfear (Kate), five grandchildren, Ashlea Helms Mattoon, Benjamin Helms (Brooke), Nicole Lanfear, Allison Lanfear, and Walter Lanfear, and four great grandchildren, Theodore Hubbard, Beckett Hubbard, Halsey Mattoon and Ellie Helms.

There will be a memorial service for Lanfear this Friday, January 24, at 11 am at Christ Episcopal Church, 510 Belknap Place, San Antonio. The family has suggested contributions be made to the San Antonio Art League and Museum, 130 King William St., San Antonio, Texas 78204.


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Ashlea January 22, 2020 - 11:17

Thank you for your wonderful words about Grandmother❤️

Kathryn Davidson January 26, 2020 - 13:41

Marilyn Lanfear was a great Texas Women Artist. She had a remarkable life and career as a artist and mother. She will be missed.


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