Monday, April 12, 2010


AUBURN -- Lucille Webb, the widow of photographer Todd Webb, died peacefully on Jan. 12, 2008, at her home in Auburn. She was 101 years old.

     Born Sept. 16, 1906, she led an extraordinary life. Nee Lucille Minqueau, she grew up in New York City where she attended classes at NYU and Barnard College, and studied for a year at the Sorbonne in 1924. Her career was fascinating and wide-ranging. Her first job was as personal secretary to the then famous opera star Lucretia Bori, learning and managing the many intrigues of Ms. Bori's life. Lucille went on to work at an advertising firm, Peddler and Ryan. All the while she was taking classes in modern dance with Jose Limon and Catherine Dunham, dancing briefly in both companies.

     She was extremely independent. After World War II, unmarried and in her early 40s, she ventured on a trip to Paris. There, by complete happenstance, she met Todd Webb, an American photographer living in Paris at the time. After 24 hours of knowing Lucille he asked her to marry him! His journal entry reflects that knowledge... Things are happening to me, things I hadn't planned or dreamed of. There is even the possibility I may not be a bachelor forever. Their partnership and love for one another was truly inspirational. They married in Paris, Sept. 10, 1949, and realized they were born a year and a day apart- Sept. 15, 1905 and Sept. 16, 1906. They lived in Paris for a few more years and moved back to New York in 1953.

     Todd was working as a commercial photographer and with Roy Stryker who was heading up the WPA. Todd received two Guggenheim fellowships in 1954 and '55, walking across America with his camera. Lucille held down the fort with a job in New York at one of the first firms to do market research and polling. In 1960 they were lured to Santa Fe by their old friend, Georgia O'Keeffe, settling there for 10 years.

     Lucille opened a paperback bookshop and gallery on Canyon Road and Todd taught photography. They had many adventures, traveling to Mexico often and spending time with O'Keeffe and her circle of friends. In 1971 they ventured back to France settling in the Provencal village of St. Restitut, and thence to Bath, England for a few years. They returned to the states in 1976, settling in Portland and Bath. They moved to Schooner Estates in Auburn in 1999. Todd died in 2000. Todd Webb is best known for his large format photos of New York in the 1940s, Paris in the 50s and intimate portraits of Georgia O'Keeffe.

     Lucille is survived by a sister, Lenore, 103, of New York City. She also is survived by many devoted friends. She was truly a marvel and will be sorely missed. A memorial service will be held on Jan. 25, at 10 a.m. at Schooner Estates in Auburn, in the Tenant's Harbor room. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Lucille's name may be sent to the Guggenheim Foundation, New York or the Maine College of Art, Portland.

Via:Todd Webb Photographs

No comments: