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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Margaret Watkins

Dates:  1884 - 1969
Born:  Canada, ON, Hamilton
Died:  UK, Scotland, Glasgow
Active:  Canada
Canadian woman photographer who was a student at the Clarence H. White School of Photography in New York from 1914 and in 1917 she became a full-time instructor with her students including Doris Ulmann, Ralph Steiner and Paul Outerbridge. in 1921 there was a feature of her photographs entitled "Photography comes to the kitchen" in Vanity Fair. She was a highly successful commercial and advertising photographer working on assignments with clients including Macy's and J. Walter Thompson. The time that she was doing this was the 1920s when there was a shift from Pictorialism to Modernism and she was able to bridge the divide between soft-focused romanticism and the harder edges of the industrial world. Her advertising photographs of gloves, soap, or a packet of cigarettes had a formal beauty that was ideally suited to the times. In 1929 she moved to Glasgow to care for two sick relatives and her career ended although she did take photographs of the dockyards in Glasgow, the Soviet Union and Paris . At this point her work could have vanished into obscurity but a neighour, Joseph Mulholland, was left her prints and her fame has gradually spread with the assistance of the Robert Mann Gallery and a retrospective at the The National Gallery of Canada in 2012.

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HomeContents > Further research

General reading 
Fulton, Marianne et al., 1996, Pictorialism into Modernism: The Clarence H. White School of Photography, (New York: Rizzoli, in association with George Eastman House and the Detroit Institute of Arts) [Δ
Readings on, or by, individual photographers 
1921, October, ‘Photography Comes into the Kitchen: A Group of Photographs by Margaret Watkins Showing Modernist, or Cubist, Patterns in Composition.‘, Vanity Fair, p. 60 [Δ
Barnes, Lucinda, Constance W. Glenn & Jane K. Bledsoe, 1985, A Collective Vision: Clarence H. White and his Students, (Long Beach, California: California State University Art Museum) [Δ
McCulloch, Martha, 1994, Margaret Watkins, 1884 - 1969: Photographs, (Glasgow: Street Level Photography Gallery and Workshop) [Δ
Michaels, Barbara L., 1996, Nov-Dec, ‘Pattern vs. Passion: The legacy of the Clarence H. White School of Photography‘, Afterimage, vol. 24, pp. 7-11 [Δ
Mulholland, Joseph, 1984, 15 May, ‘Chance Request Leads to Discovery and Exhibit at Light Gallery‘, Photograph Collector [Δ
Mulholland, Joseph, 2009, Margaret Watkins (1884 - 1969): Forgotten Woman, (Glasgow: Hidden Lane Gallery) [Δ
O'Connor, Mary & Tweedie, Katherine, 2007, Seduced by Modernity: The Photography of Margaret Watkins, (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press) isbn-10: 077353119X isbn-13: 978-0773531192 [Δ
O'Connor, Mary & Tweedie, Katherine, 2008, Summer, ‘Margaret Watkins, Photographer: Seduced by the Modern‘, Queen's Quarterly, vol. 115, no. 2, pp. 220-235 [Δ
Pauli, Lori, 2012, Margaret Watkins: Domestic Symphonies, (National Gallery of Canada) isbn-10: 0888849036 isbn-13: 978-0888849038 [Introduction by Joseph Mulholland] [Δ
Watkins, Margaret, 1926, ‘Advertising and Photography‘, Pictorial Photography in America, vol. 4 [Δ
Watkins, Margaret, 1926, Sep, ‘How My Art Enriches Life.‘, The Ground Glass: Bulletin of the Newark Camera Club, vol. 8, p. 5 [Δ
If you feel this list is missing a significant book or article please let me know - Alan -
Margaret Watkins
Self-Portrait, Paris 
Family history 
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch.
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Visual indexes

ThumbnailMargaret Watkins: Advertising
All photographs by this photographer 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

• Lahs-Gonzales, Olivia & Lippard, Lucy 1997 Defining Eye: Women Photographers of the 20th Century. Selections from the Helen Kornblum Collection (Saint Louis Art Museum, D.A.P.) [Margaret Watkins is included in this overview of women photographers.] 
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