Oscar Edmund Berninghaus (1874-1952)
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Oscar Berninghaus is an American painter, well known for his contributions to the Taos Society of Artists. Before moving to New Mexico, Berninghaus began his life in St. Louis, Missouri (the gateway to the West). Berninghaus was introduced to art at an early age through his father, who ran a lithography press.
Berninghaus only took a few formal art classes, attending night courses at the St. Louis School of Fine Art. Berninghaus was other otherwise able to learn independently, and through his father. Berninghaus was able to gain enough exposure to receive a commission in 1899 to paint mining camps and villages in Colorado and New Mexico. It was on this trip that Berninghaus discovered Taos.
In Taos, Berninghaus joined forces with artists: Bert Phillips, Ernest Blumenschein. Joseph Sharp, Eanger Irving Couse, and W. Herbert Dunton. These six men formed the Taos Society of Artists, which was founded around 1915. Berninghaus did not settle in Taos until 1925, before which he continued to receive commissions that included, campaigns for Anheuser-Busch, painting a mural for the Missouri State Capitol building and creating a float design for the Veiled Prophet Parade.
In the late 1920s, Berninghaus concentrated his efforts on painting the landscape of New Mexico. Berninghaus was known for painting horses, pueblos and Native Americans. Berninghaus’s leadership in the Taos Society of Artists, was key to the groups success. The artists organized exhibitions that toured the country with rave reviews. Many of the artists made extra money selling their work to railroad companies and corporate businesses.
Berninghaus lived in or near Taos for twenty-seven years, creating an extensive body of work, depicting the people and landscape of the region. Since Berninghaus’s death in 1952, Berninghaus’s paintings have become important installations in museums and private collections across the United States. Do you think you own a painting by Oscar Edmund Berninghaus? Contact us. We are the experts on Berninghaus.