Former Witte Curator Cecilia Steinfeldt, The "First Lady Of Texas Art," Dies

May 22, 2013

Curator Emeritus Cecilia Steinfeldt, who served as an iconic and creative influence during her 60-year career, passed away Friday, May 17, in San Antonio.

Steinfeldt, who was born in Wisconsin in 1915, moved to San Antonio in 1923. Her parents enrolled her in art classes at the Witte Memorial Museum in 1925.

She became a young woman during the Great Depression, and after high school took advantage of the Mexican government’s offer of free art supplies and tuition to study art in Mexico City under Carlos Merida.

When Steinfeldt returned to San Antonio in 1936, she joined the Witte as an art instructor and later became its curator. Steinfeldt dedicated herself to the study and exhibition of Texas art.

She became known as the "First Lady of Texas Art" through her many exhibits and five books she published on Texas art and artists. Some of her books are required reading for university art departments.

Marise McDermott, president and CEO of the Witte Museum, said Steinfeldt was a brilliant scholar of the old school, a magnificent writer and an elegant and forceful voice for Texas art and history.