Margaret Newland Wenstrup

American, 1930-2008  Biography

Born in 1930, Margaret Newland Wenstrup is an accomplished Cincinnati artist known for her lifelong love of folk art. Growing up in a small town in Kentucky the lack of art classes within the local school system led her to seek training elsewhere. She got her start copying calendars as a young girl. She later studied weaving in Arizona and took art courses in Indianapolis. 

Newland Wenstrup was one of the earliest Cincinnati artists to deal with very severe geometry. In 1949, the artist enrolled at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where she studied under Ralston Crawford. It was during this time, in the mid-1950s, that she began to work nonobjectively. 

The artist was also an enthusiastic collector of folk art, and found inspiration in the work of artists such as Hazel Kinney, Howard Finster, Carl Mackenzie, and many others. Her Precisionist paintings of geometric shapes seem to combine Pop Art geometrics with the folk art on her walls in a collaboration that may be described as Op Naive. Fellow Cincinnati modernist Peter McClanahan stated that, "Maggie's work is repetition, surprises, rhythm, pattern-oriented... Some of Maggie's paintings were precursors of the later Op-Art. Her enthusiasm and energy are formidable and that is translated through her work.”

In 1953, Newland Wenstrup was the first woman to win the Art Academy of Cincinnati’s prestigious Wilder Scholarship. Her works have been exhibited at the Cincinnati Invitational Awards Exhibits, the American Federation of the Arts, and the Huntington Museum of Art. Her creations are in many private and corporate collections. She died in 2008.

Wilder Scholarship, Art Academy of Cincinatti

Cincinnati Modern: Art & Design at Mid-Century, Weston Art Gallery, Aranoff Center for the Arts, Cincinnati, June 14-August 31, 2002

Musée d'Orsay, Paris
National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.
Musée de Pau, France