The Taos Society of Artists (1915-1927)
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The Taos Society of Artists was an organized group of American painters based out of Taos, New Mexico. Members associated with the group primarily painted Native American scenes, Pueblo architecture, and the desert landscape. The foundation set by the original members of the Taos Society of Artists paved the way for the Taos art colony, a community where artists continue to flock. The Society had ties to the Society of Western Artists, which worked in New Mexico, among other locations.
The founding Artists in the Taos Society of Artists included: Joseph H. Sharp, Bert G. Phillips, Ernest L. Blumenschein, E.Irving Couse, Oscar E. Berninghaus and Herbert Dunton. Other members associated with the Society include: Victor Higgins, Julius Rolshoven, E. Martin Hennings, Walter Ufer and BJO Nordfeldt. In 1924, Catherine C. Critcher became the only woman to join the group. Kenneth Adams was the last member to join the group, for the Society’s last active year.
Joseph H. Sharp was the first of the group to visit Taos. Sharp later met Bert G. Phillips and Ernest L. Blumenschein on Paris and urged them to travel to New Mexico. Phillips and Blumenschein took Sharp’s advice and headed on a painting trip to Mexico, via New Mexico. While in Taos, the painter’s wagon wheel broke, leading them to settle in Taos rather than continue course across the border.
Blumenschein later met E.I Couse and recruited him to join their painting group in the southwest. Couse followed suit and recruited his friend Oscar E. Berninghaus, who consequently recruited Herbert Dunton. After the addition of Dunton, the group had a critical mass, and held their first meeting in 1915 on the first of July.
Though all of the artists had their own styles and academic backgrounds, they were drawn together by the magnificent environment of Taos. Many of the artists came from the industrial east coast, or Midwest, and were overwhelmed by the beauty and diversity of the desert, mountains, forests and native culture.
Though the group formally broke apart in 1927, Taos remains to be a thriving art colony visited by artists of all nationalities and creeds. Today, galleries, museums, artist studios and residencies can be found in Taos. Many of the works by the original Taos Society of Artists can be found in regional and international collections. Do you think you own a painting by one of the Taos Society of Artists? Contact us. We are experts on the Taos Society of Artists.