Antiques and Collectibles •  Art and Southwest

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New Mexican Tinwork, 1840-1940

Lane Coulter
Maurice Dixon Jr.

Ornamental tinwork folk art originated in the mid-1800s in New Mexico. As an increasing number of food products shipped in tin cans arrived over the Santa Fe Trail, more materials were available to the area's tinsmiths. They used their skills on tins that once held such products as lard, kerosene, and oysters. The finished products were as unlimited as the creativity of the makers, from candle sconces to picture frames to mirrors to nichos and religious icons to children's toys.
Lane Coulter and Maurice Dixon, Jr., begin with a brief history of New Mexican tinwork and quickly describe the tools and techniques used and how to determine the period in which older pieces were made.


Lane Coulter has a masters degree in fine arts and is a metalsmith. He has held teaching positions at the University of Oklahoma and the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe. He is the editor of Navajo Saddle Blankets: Textiles to Ride in the American West.

Maurice Dixon Jr. has an MFA and is a tinsmith himself. A resident of Santa Fe, he has a long-time association with galleries representing the regional folk arts of New Mexico.


"Whether religious or secular in nature, these vintage examples of New Mexican tinwork embody a richness of spirit that remains triumphantly untarnished by the passage of time."


Chicago Tribune

". . . An unparalleled survey and reference work, an invaluable collector's guide, and a beautiful book that will be the definitive work on the subject for a long time."


New Mexico Historical Review

"Splendid account of remarkable folk art."


Antique and Collectible News Service

". . .a classic and carefully researched book on a unique art form, tinwork."


Enchantment, New Mexico

"If you like New Mexico tin this is the book to have."


Tradicion Revista

"Originally published in 1990, this is the catalog raisonné of New Mexico tinwork and is warmly welcomed back into print."


New Mexico Magazine

"Relatively little, has been documented in this area, making New Mexican Tinwork 1840-1940 a compilation of history and color photos of particular interest to anyone working in this particular medium."


The Bookwatch

10 x 8 in. 216 pages 16 color plates., 193 halftones, 1 maps