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Taos Artists; Old and New

“In the magnificent fierce morning of New Mexico, one sprang awake, a new part of the soul woke up suddenly and the old world gave way to the new.”

These words were spoken by the world-renowned author D.H. Lawrence after he visited Taos for the first time in September 1922. Many creative minds over the years have been just as amazed by the natural beauty of Taos. That inspiration has found its way into countless art pieces, from paintings and sculptures to ceramics and woven art pieces over centuries.

We’d love to spotlight a handful of historical and contemporary homegrown artists from Taos who have inspired us as much as the town and surrounding landscape have inspired them. These artists’ creative endeavors, each with their own distinct flair, have become woven into the long history of artistic expression renowned within this region. You can still find many of their pieces around Taos to this day!

Ernest Blumenschein was an illustrator, painter and Taos resident from the 1920s-1960s. His wagon’s wheel broke down outside of town in 1898 en route to Mexico, and he was instantly enamored by the friendly residents and gorgeous views. He was known as a founding member of the Society of Artists, a group of painters who depicted the American Southwest and Native American residents of Taos in a light meant to inform the rest of the world of their serene way of life and the beauty of the landscape. He has several paintings on display in Taos, including at the Harwood Museum of Art and the Taos Art Museum at Fechin House, both within a short walking distance from our El Pueblo Lodge.

While not an artist herself, Mabel Dodge Luhan was responsible for attracting many artists to Taos as a patron of the arts. She resided in Taos for 45 years, and some of her most renowned guests included the previously quoted writer D.H. Lawrence, painter Georgia O’Keeffe and photographer Ansel Adams, among others. Her house, The Mabel Dodge Luhan House, has been designated as a National Historic Landmark in Taos. You can still tour the main rooms and get a glimpse into this artistic era with its numerous works and sculptures still on display in and around the property. Better yet, it’s only a 5-minute drive from our lodge.

Agnes Martin was an abstract expressionist and minimalist painter who lived and worked in Taos from the 1940s onward, moving here permanently in the early 1990s. The soft and bright lines of Taos’ natural surroundings found their way into her pale, grid-based works. She was part of the “Taos Moderns,” an influx of modernist artists from cities such as New York and San Francisco who relocated to Taos and influenced each other’s works as much as the land influenced theirs. The Harwood Museum of Art in Taos hosts the Agnes Martin Gallery, a permanent exhibition that Agnes helped design and currently houses 7 works for viewing. She even had a hand in designing the gallery benches.

Maye Torres is a contemporary 13th-generation Taos-born artist who has reached global acclaim, with her drawings and sculptures on display in private and public collections worldwide. She’s created art in various mediums, from detailed graphite sketches to full-scale bronze sculptures. Torres has claimed her art has taken influence from the many places she’s lived, including El Salvador, Ecuador, Bolivia and Taos, with its already-established art scene and culture. She also owns a contemporary art gallery called Studio 107B, located on the north side of the Historic Taos Plaza, which showcases local New Mexican art and has a range of rotating exhibitions year-round. We recommend a stop the next time you’re in the heart of Taos!

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