The Public Paperfolding History Project

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The Paperfolding of Ligia Montoya
 

Introduction

Ligia Montoya was born ..... and died on 18th April 1967.

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Chronology

1958

On 27th June 1958 Meyer Berger's 'About New York' column in the New York Times featured Lillian Oppenheimer and her love of paperfolding. The column was titled 'Origami, the Ancient Art of Paper-Folding, has Gramercy Square Disciple.' It mentions that Oppenheimer corresponds with Ligia Montoya and calls her 'the most distinguished folder in South America'.

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Volume 1, Issue 1 of The Origamian, published in October 1958, contains diagrams for a flapping bird by Ligia Montoya and states that she has promised to send 'a box with 20 flowers, 15 birds and 5 insects', presumably as exhibits for the planned exhibition at the Cooper Union museum.

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Volume 1, Issue 2 of The Origamian, published in November 1958, contains diagrams for her 'Christmas Angel' (simplified by Guiseppi Baggi), in which a circular halo with a slit cut in it is added to complete the design.

The report on the third afternoon session on November 3rd notes that, 'Each talbe (sic) had an arrangement of original paper-folded flowers' (sent by Ligia Montoya as a contribution to the planned Cooper Union exhibition). 'It is a feat indeed to create flower forms out of a piece of paper without cutting, allowing oneself only to fold or crease.'

The report also records that 'Miss Montoya was the only one able to solve the mystery of the Kanomado Dragonfly dated c1850'.

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1959

Volume 1, Issue 4 of The Origamian, published in January 1959, contains diagrams for her 'Gatito', an action design, and her Original Moth' (from an equilateral triangle).

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Volume 1, Issue 5 of The Origamian, published in March 1959, contains diagrams for her 'Original Table'.

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According to the exhibition catalogue, Ligia Montoya contributed a number of designs to the 'Plane Geometry and Fancy Figures' exhibition held at the Cooper Union Museum in New York in the Summer of 1959. The catalogue also features a photo of part of her group of birds.

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1961

'The Origamian' Vol 2: Issue 2 of Autumn 1961 contains a eulogy about the work of Ligia Montoya, titled 'Our Origami Angel' which states, inter alia, 'Ligia's talent was discovered while she was attending the University. A professor there saw her work, wrote to Gershon Legman (who had enquired earlier whether or not Origami was known in Buenos Aires) and soon Mr Legman and Ligia were corresponding.'

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Samuel Randlett's 'The Art of Origami', which was published in 1961, contained two photographs of Ligia Montoya's work, presumably from the same exhibition.

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Volume 2 Issue 2 of 'The Origamian' for Autumn 1961 contains diagrams for Four Hats (from a single base). While these are clearly attributed to Ligia Montoya, Hat 1 is also said to be 'Courtesy of Spencer Muns'.

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1963

'The Best of Origami' by Samuel Randlett, which was published by E P Dutton in New York in 1963 and by Faber and Faber Ltd in London in 1964, contained the following biographical details:

And diagrams for a number of her original designs:

Stork

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Swan

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Housefly

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Leaf

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Ape

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Mouse

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Palm Tree

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Lily

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1964

'Secrets of Origami', by Robert Harbin, which was published by Oldbourne Book Company in London in 1964, contained diagrams for a number of her designs:

Montoya Star (Flat, compound, glued, design)

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Tropical Bird

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Bird of Paradise

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Swan

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Sea Horse

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Montoya's Flapping Bird

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Turtle

From 2x1 rectangle folded into a double bird base.

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Angel Fish

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Fish Number One (Cut)

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Fish Number Two

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Montoya's Macaw

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Pelican

From an equilateral triangle.

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Humming Bird

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Pigeon

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The Creche - a series of figures and animals comprising:

The Virgin Mary (seated)

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Standing Angel

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Kneeling Angel

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A Woman

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Old Woman with Staff

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Shepherd with Crook

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Sheep

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Goose

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The Infant Christ

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1966

'The Origamian' Vol 6: Issue 1 of Spring 1966 contains diagrams for a Flower (from a hexagon) by Ligia Montoya.

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1967

Vol 7: Issue 2 of 'The Origamian' for Summer 1967 contained an obituary for Ligia Montoya, written by Alice Gray:

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1968

'Teach Yourself Origami: The Art of Paperfolding' by Robert Harbin, which was published by The English Universities Press in 1968, contained diagrams for two of Montoya's tropical birds.

Tropical Bird 1 by Ligia Montoya

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Tropical Bird 2 by Ligia Montoya

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Vol 8: Issues 1 and 2 of 'The Origamian' for Spring and Summer 1968 contained a profile of Ligia Montoya, 'Ligia Montoya: Woman and Artist', written by Gershon Legman, with whom she had corresponded for many years, excerpts from which are reproduced below.

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This issue also contains an article titled, 'Origami Center Made Trustee of Ligia Montoya's Origami', two large illustrations giving finished drawings of some of Ligia Montoya's creations from the bird base and the fish base respectively and diagrams for three of her designs.

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Puma by Ligia Montoya

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Insect (Heavily Cut) by Ligia Montoya

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Vase by Ligia Montoya

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Tulip and Tulip Leaf by Ligia Montoya

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Vol 8 Issue 3 of 'The Origamian' for Autumn 1968 contains an open letter from Dr. Solorzano disputing some of the content of Gershon Legman's obituary of Ligia Montoya which was published in Vol 8, issue 1.

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1969

Vol 9: Issue 2 of 'The Origamian' for Summer 1969 contains a letter from Neal Elias contesting some of the assertions Dr. Solorzano made in his letter about Ligia Montoya published in Volume 8, issue 4, and another letter on a similar theme from Robert Harbin.

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