Margarita and her Mandolin

watercolor, 22 by 30 inches

Carmen Margarita, portrayed here at age sixteen, was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, in 1894. Her father was a French engineer who had come to Central America to work on the original Panama Canal project, which failed and was later brought to completion by the American Corps of Engineers. Margarita, a playful and spirited girl, met Zefiro, an engineer from Bologna, Italy. Zefiro also played the mandolin, and they occasionally played together during their courtship. They were married in 1914 and had six children. Their son, Marcos Aurelio, having been born in Puerto Rico, was the only child who became an American citizen. The artist is his daughter.