Ensconced in the second-oldest building on Santa Fe's Historic Plaza known as the BATTS BUILDING - just above the Plaza Cafe, WEBSTER COLLECTION is a visual feast. I stopped by the other day at the invitation of CHRIS WEBSTER, the charming impresario/collector/force behind this unique space and its eclectic offerings of historic and contemporary art.
Originally from North Carolina, Chris came to Santa Fe in the early 70's and immediately became enamored with the richness of the history and culture of the Southwest. He began traveling, collecting art and building thousands of relationships with artists, dealers and patrons. After getting his real estate brokers license in 1976, he combined the two passions into CHRISTOPHER WEBSTER REAL ESTATE AND ART INVESTMENTS, which later became an affiliate of Sotheby's International Realty.
For 20 years Chris and family traveled between Santa Fe and Mexico and when the opportunity came to take over most of the floor of the building in 1998, he drew upon his passion for Mexican Colonial architecture and interiors and brought artisans from Mexico to transform the walls and ceilings in the suite of rooms.
"Each day when I walk into this unique space, I feel inspired
and fulfilled," says Chris.
There are hand-applied plaster finishes on all the walls and beautiful old Mexican doors and windows were brought in to re-create that Colonial style.
TONY PRICE ATOMIC ART
The office today is a multi-purpose space. There are two private offices overlooking The Plaza; the central spine of the office is now a gallery space and there is also a large, inviting room for board meetings and events. There's also a music/sound recording studio and a production company.
The current show - OFF THE GRID - showcases the work of eleven local artists/photographers - Tasha Ostrander, Willis F. Lee, Robert Stivers, David Michael Kennedy, Deborah Samuel, Patti Levey, Victoria Goldman-Amore, Joanne Teasdale, Andrea Senutovitch, Alexandra Ewing, and Tony Bonanno.
The photographs and artwork fill the central gallery and are intermingled with art objects from Chris's vast collection - a nice pairing of contemporary and vintage.
The large meeting room and office spaces are full of visual surprises...
A beautiful space for a board retreat...
THE CONCORD MINUTEMAN OF 1775
Two prized, bronze sculptures by DANIEL CHESTER FRENCH, N.A. take pride of place in Chris' office.
THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL
Behind all of these objects is a story.
This harlequin-painted case, for example, was owned by the equally colorful nephew (see note below) of the famed Kit Carson. Said nephew - William "Uncle Kit" Carson - lived in Roswell, NM and was at times a stage coach driver, an Indian scout and a performer in Buffalo Bill's Wild West show.
However, although many believed that "Uncle Kit" was indeed Kit Carson's nephew, history proves that he was not. His true name was Ora A. Woodman. A consummate performer, he was said to actually become the character he was playing at the time; probably even 'fooling' himself.
THANK YOU CHRIS FOR A DELIGHTFUL TOUR OF YOUR REALM,
AMAZING COLLECTIONS AND GALLERY OFFERINGS.
W E B S T E R
54 1/2 LINCOLN AVE - THE PLAZA, SANTA FE