Maria Alquilar

born New York City 1928-died Sacramento, CA 2014
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Photograph by Arthur Williams.
Also known as
  • Barbara Taffet
  • Barbara Pincus
New York, Kings, New York, United States
Sacramento, California, United States
Active in
  • Santa Cruz, California, United States
  • American

Born in New York. The daughter of a Russian Jewish mother and Spanish father. Her altarpieces seek to explore the mythic heritage of many cultures and expose their common threads.

Nora Panzer, ed. Celebrate America in Poetry and Art (New York and Washington, D.C.: Hyperion Paperbacks for Children in association with the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 1994)

Luce Artist Biography

Inspired by her Russian and Spanish heritage, Maria Alquilar combines elements from many cultures in her art. She does this to emphasize our shared experiences and to show different paths to enlightenment. With very little formal training, Alquilar turned to art after the sudden death of her husband. She frequently includes plants and animals in her work to express the spiritual connection between humans and nature. Seeking a more permanent medium than ceramic or paint, Alquilar began to produce metal sculptures during her residency at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin. She believes that a public work of art should appeal intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually to the visitors of the site.


Media - 1979.159.44 - SAAM-1979.159.44_1 - 56988
Sculpture Down to Scale: Models for Public Art at Federal Buildings, 1974 – 1985
May 31, 2019November 22, 2020
Artists used preliminary models—or maquettes—to communicate their ideas. Varied in scale, format, and level of finish, the nine models in this exhibition offer windows into the creative process, with work by Jackie Ferrara, Sol LeWitt, Claes Oldenburg, and Beverly Pepper, among others.