Members of The Taos Society
of Artists, ca. 1932
Standing left to right:
Walter Ufer, W.Herbert Dunton, Victor Higgins, Kenneth Adams. Seated left to right:
Joseph H. Sharp, E.Martin Hennings, E. Irving Couse, Oscar E.
Berninghaus. Front row, left
to right: Bert G. Phillips, Ernest L. Blumenschein
When Ernest L. Blumenschein and Bert Phillips,
two young artists who were traveling by wagon from Denver to Mexico in
1898, lost a wagon wheel some place north of Taos and were forced to
here for repairs, little did they know they were soon to start a
of artists into the Taos valley that would swell for the next forty
A flood of artists and writers came to Taos for the native people, the
landscape, the light, the silence. As D.H. Lawrence said, "Taos is a
of mind." it was. And is.
These two men were the first of the famous
Seven who came to Taos first and whose paintings now hang in most of
museums in America. They are: Phillips, Blumenschein, Oscar Edmund
Victor Higgins, E. Irving Couse, Joseph Henry Sharp and Walter Ufer. By
1915 there were enough artists painting in Taos that the Taos Society
Artists was formed.
Before a year was up, the art scene, already
lively and contentious, was further activated by the arrival of Maurice
Sterne and his wife Mabel who was soon to take her place as the queen
this southwestern Bohemia.
Mabel's presence here soon elicited visits
from her famous artists friends and the "golden age" of Taos began.
she divorced Sterne to marry Tony Luhan from Taos Pueblo, the Honorable
Dorothy Brett, with her brass ear-trumpet named Toby arrived with D.H.
and Frieda Lawrence. Mabel, Frieda and Brett were friendly, if public,
rivals for the rest of their lives. Old timers speak of this period
great fondness. One could visit the Don Fernando Hotel at any time and
see someone interesting, if not both interesting and famous.
legal liquor after Prohibition and with plenty of illegal liquor during
(rum runners from Mexico arriving at 3 a.m. like clockwork)--were great
centers of conversation where exciting people did and said exciting
Invited by Mabel, Georgia O'Keeffe was
soon on the scene to add the strokes of her brush and more good talk
Mabel and she fought and she left Mabel's to take up residence, first
the newly built Sagebrush Inn, then for many years in Abiquiu.
Skiing was already becoming popular in
the late 1920's. Skis were ordered from Sears, Roebuck; the men often
shirtless; and the cabin in Taos Canyon which served as a skiing
saw many competitions among the ladies for fabulous lunch
Taos today exhibits the fruits of this
sometimes arduous, often frivolous, early art colony. There are many
museums, fabulous ski slopes, places to wine and dine and a raft of
twentieth century Bohemians.