Taos Society of Artists / About

  • The six founding members of the Taos Society of Artists in Virginia Walker Couse’s garden, 1915 (L-R, E.L. Blumenschein, O.E. Berninghaus, E.I. Couse, J.H. Sharp, B.G. Phillips, and W.H. Dunton)

    The six founding members of the Taos Society of Artists in Virginia Walker Couse’s garden, 1915 (L-R, E.L. Blumenschein, O.E. Berninghaus, E.I. Couse, J.H. Sharp, B.G. Phillips, and W.H. Dunton)

  • E.L. Blumenschein, B.G. Phillips, and J.H. Sharp critique E.I. Couse’s painting "The White Goose" 1912.

    E.L. Blumenschein, B.G. Phillips, and J.H. Sharp critique E.I. Couse’s painting "The White Goose" 1912.

  • Founding members of the Taos Society of Artists (left to right): B.G. Phillips, W.H. Dunton, J.H. Sharp, O.E. Berninghaus, E.I. Couse and E.L. Blumenschein, 1915.

    Founding members of the Taos Society of Artists (left to right): B.G. Phillips, W.H. Dunton, J.H. Sharp, O.E. Berninghaus, E.I. Couse and E.L. Blumenschein, 1915.

  • Members of the Taos Society of Artists clowning for the camera in Couse’s studio (L-R, E.L. Blumenschein, J.H. Sharp, B.G. Phillips, O.E. Berninghaus, W.H. Dunton, and E.I. Couse).

    Members of the Taos Society of Artists clowning for the camera in Couse’s studio (L-R, E.L. Blumenschein, J.H. Sharp, B.G. Phillips, O.E. Berninghaus, W.H. Dunton, and E.I. Couse).

  • Former members of the Taos Society of Artists photographed by C.E. Lord in the Couse garden, 1932.  Back row: Ufer, Dunton, Higgins, Adams. Seated: Hennings, Phillips, Couse, Berninghaus. Front row: Sharp; Blumenschein. Missing: Critcher and Rolshoven.

    Former members of the Taos Society of Artists photographed by C.E. Lord in the Couse garden, 1932. Back row: Ufer, Dunton, Higgins, Adams. Seated: Hennings, Phillips, Couse, Berninghaus. Front row: Sharp; Blumenschein. Missing: Critcher and Rolshoven.

About the Taos Society of Artists

In September of 1898, Ernest Blumenschein and Bert Phillips, two young artists from New York, discovered the beauty and fascination of the Taos Valley of northern New Mexico. Both studied in France where in 1894 they met J.H. Sharp who told them about his recent visit to Taos.  Their experience with art colonies in Europe stimulated a desire to establish such a colony in Taos. There the landscape, the Native American and Spanish cultures, and the spectacular light caused Phillips to say to Blumenschein, "For heaven's sake, tell people what we have found! Send some artists out here. There is a lifetime's work for twenty men." Couse was their first convert, arriving in 1902 and returning every year thereafter.

By 1915, six professional artists from the East had made Taos a focus of their work. In that year they formed the Taos Society of Artists, sending circuit exhibitions of their paintings across the country and exposing audiences to new cultures, new visions, and a new landscape. This put Taos "on the map" for art and tourism, making it one of the most important art colonies in America. The Society lasted until 1927, by which time there were 12 active members which included: Bert Phillips, Ernest Blumenschein, Irving Couse, Henry Sharp, Oscar Berninghaus, Herbert Dunton, Julius Rolshoven, Walter Ufer, Victor Higgins, Martin Hennings, Kenneth Adams, and Catherine Critcher.  Prompted by the reputation of the Taos Society of Artists and later enhanced by the presence of the art patron, Mabel Dodge Luhan, the art community expanded rapidly. Today it remains a vital and ever growing artists' milieu.