Ernest L. Blumenschein (1874-1960)
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Ernest L. Blumenschein was an American artist, known for his modernist paintings of New Mexico. Blumenschein was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but spent much of his childhood in Dayton, Ohio. Blumenschein’s father was an accomplished musician, who exposed him to art and music at an early age. He was awarded a scholarship to study music at the Cincinnati College of Music, but simultaneously studied painting at the Cincinnati Art Academy.
Blumenschein decided to pursue a career as a painter and relocated to New York City. He took classes at the Art Students League but used his musical talent to support himself by playing the violin in the New York Symphony. Blumenschein eventually left his first chair seat in the symphony to become a full-time painter. Blumenschein went to Paris to study at the Académie Julian, where he met many inspiring artists such as Joseph Henry Sharp.
When Blumenschein returned to New York he worked as an illustrator for publications such as Century, Harper’s, Scribner’s and McClure’s. After visiting the southwest on an assignment from McClure’s, Blumenschein decided he would journey to New Mexico by way of covered wagon. He stayed in Taos, New Mexico for three months, painting and writing about his experiences.
Blumenschein continued to work as an illustrator and painter, dividing his time between Paris and New York. In addition to illustrating magazines, Blumenschein worked with numerous novel writers including Jack London and Willa Cather.
Blumenschein and his wife, Mary, were both hired as art instructors at the Pratt Institute in New York. While Mary remained in New York year-round, Blumenschein spent his summers painting in Taos. Blumenschein exhibited frequently New York, Chicago, San Francisco and New Mexico. Bluemenschein won numerous awards and was a full member of the National Academy. Blumenschein was not only recognized in the United States but also exhibited internationally, including the Venice Biennial.
In 1917 Blumenschein convinced his family to move to Taos, so he could paint there full-time. Blumenschein became one of the most important Taos artists, and his home in Taos eventually became a historic landmark. Blumenschein’s work now belongs to major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Metropolitan, and the Smithsonian Institution.
Blumenschein is an important addition to any American, Modern Art collection. Do you think you own a painting by Ernest Blumenschein? Contact us. We are the experts on Ernest Blumenschein.