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Renowned Textiles Expert Mary Hunt Kahlenberg Dies

Mary Hunt Kahlenberg died at her home in Santa Fe on October 27th, aged 71, following a long illness.

As reported in the Santa Fe New Mexican, Kahlenberg, who was an internationally known textiles expert and curator, began her career as a curator of textile arts at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Kahlenberg and her husband Rob Coffland had co-owned TAI Gallery in the Railyard. Coffland survives her.

Kahlenberg was instrumental in securing the gift of the Neutrogena Collection of textiles to Santa Fe’s Museum of International Folk Art; the wing opened  in 1998. Kahlenberg co-curated the inaugural exhibition, The Extraordinary in the Ordinary, with Lloyd Cotsen, the collection’s patron who considered Kahlenberg his “muse.” Cotsen had been CEO of the cosmetics company, Neutrogena.

This March, Kahlenberg, who co-edited FIVE CENTURIES OF INDONESIAN TEXTILES: THE MARY HUNT KAHLENBERG COLLECTION (DelMonico Books – Prestel 2010) with Ruth Barnes, won First Place for the book at the 31st Annual George Wittenborn Book Awards, named for the New York book dealer and given each year to North American art publications which represent “the highest standards of excellence, documentation, and presentation.”

Kahlenberg told ArtFixDaily that she felt an “immediate and profound connection” with the people of Indonesia, the villages, their stories, their history and most importantly their beauty.   “My sense of the depth of Indonesian culture, then and now, is that it would take many lifetimes to even begin to understand the riches there, and that my fascination would never end.”

 

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