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PANORAMA


n artist enclave doesn’t happen by accident. The Taos that we enjoy today is the result of more than 100 years of conscious choices in


support of working artists (in both the best of times and the worst of times). In fact, art was a priority in Taos even before the north-central New Mexico community was offi cially incorporated as a town in 1934 — it had already been an artist colony for some 30 years prior. Credit for the earliest advancement of


ART High Society


Taos is celebrating 100 years on the art world map as well as the gents who put it there. Meet the women who keep the tradition alive BY JAYME MOYE


art in Taos belongs to six well-educated painters who called themselves the Taos Society of Artists, founded in 1915. While the endeavor didn’t survive the Great Depression, these gentlemen’s eff orts to expose the world to “Real American Art” — by sending their paintings of uniquely American images and Native American symbolism across the country on trav- eling exhibits — put Taos on the map as an art center and brought the Taos art colony international acclaim. Now home to fi ve museums and doz- ens of galleries, Taos, in honor of the Taos Society of Artists’ 100th anniversary, will throughout the year celebrate the con- tributions of the society and its followers — as well as those of the contemporary artists continuing the tradition. All of the town’s museums and many galler- ies will host art displays, lecture series, and events centered on this theme. The Couse-Sharp Historic Site (after Taos Society of Artists founders Joseph Henry Sharp and E. Irving Couse) held a panel discussion in June that included 12 descendants of the Taos Society of Artists members.


But perhaps nowhere is the spirit of


the Taos Society of Artists more alive and well than at Taos’ modern-day art cooperatives. The members of the society were themselves working artists and formed their organization as a


From bottom: Six painters who called themselves the Taos Society of Artists transformed the small New Mexico town into a celebrated art colony; founding member Oscar Berninghaus’ Glorieta.


18 DORADO • JULY/AUGUST 2015


THIS PAGE: COURTESY THE COUSE FOUNDATION. OPPOSITE: GAIL RUSSELL.


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