The Taos Art Museum Reunites Paintings by the Taos Society of Artists for the First Time on Exhibit in New Mexico

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The Stark Legacy, an exhibition that features more than 20 paintings by the six founding members and two of the active members of the Taos Society of Artists will be on view at the Taos Art Museum from December 22, 2005 through July 23, 2006. On loan from The Stark Museum of Art, the collection brings together these extraordinary pieces of work for the first time on exhibit in New Mexico to the already impressive collaboration of Taos Art at the Taos Art Museum.

The Stark Legacy, an exhibition that features more than 20 paintings by the six founding members and two of the active members of the Taos Society of Artists will be on view at the Taos Art Museum from December 22, 2005 through July 23, 2006. On loan from The Stark Museum of Art, the collection brings together these extraordinary pieces of work for the first time on exhibit in New Mexico to the already impressive collaboration of Taos Art at the Taos Art Museum.

Erion Simpson, Executive Director of the Taos Art Museum, remarked, “For all of the art enthusiasts who just love the museums’ Taos Society collection, this exhibition truly represents the most complete presentation of their work ever assembled for public viewing. We are so delighted to have such an incredible opportunity and are just so grateful to The Stark Museum.”

The Stark Museum of Art, which opened to the public in 1978 in Orange, Texas as one of many projects initiated by the Nelda C. and H. J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, is considered one of the United States´ fine collections of Western American art. The collections of the museum reflect the Stark family’s interest in the land, the wildlife, and the people of the American West. H. J. Lutcher Stark, who focused on acquiring American paintings, drawings, sculptures, books, folios, and prints, formed the collection primarily in the 1940s. Stark´s interests focused upon the works of contemporary Southwestern painters including the Taos Society of Artists whom he encountered and befriended en route to his vacation ranch in Colorado.

The Stark Legacy includes works from Joseph H. Sharp, Bert G. Phillips, Ernest L. Blumenschein, E.I. Couse, Oscar E. Berninghaus, Herbert Dunton, Victor Higgins and E. Martin Hennings. Joseph H. Sharp first visited Taos while on a sketching trip in 1883, and was captivated with its enchanting atmosphere. He is often referred to as the artist who "started it all." Later, while studying in Paris, he shared his enthusiasm with two artist friends, Bert G. Phillips and Ernest L. Blumenschein. As a result of a broken wagon wheel on September 3, 1898, the two artists stayed in the Taos area instead of completing their scheduled trip to Mexico. Back in Paris, Blumenschein met E. I. Couse and told him of a mystical mountainous region. This inspired Couse to also explore Taos. Oscar E. Berninghaus joined the Taos artists and with the addition of Herbert Dunton, a painter of cowboys and ranch life, the "Founding" group numbered six. On July 1, 1915 the first meeting of the Taos Society of Artists was held. The proposed purpose of the association was to promote the showing and sale of their work.

The group then met Walter Ufer and Victor Higgins and voted them in as Active Members in July of 1917. Julius Rolshoven became an Associate Member in 1917 and then an Active Member in 1918. E. Martin Hennings became an Active Member in 1924. The only woman of the group, Catharine C. Critcher, became an Active Member also in 1924. And, Kenneth Adams the last and youngest of the group became a member in 1926, only one year before the group disbanded.

These members of the Taos Society of Artists (and others) found the Taos area an inspiring place to paint. Maybe it was the altitude and wide-open spaces of the high desert region with it's shapes of everything from the sage-dotted plains to the vast peaks of the many mountains with their forests of pines, Aspens, Cottonwoods, wild flowers, and wildlife to the earth colored adobes that characterize the Taos style. Or, maybe it was the piercingly blue and startlingly clear Taos sky with the magnificent sunsets that drape the Rio Grande Gorge with splendid gigantic clouds of ember reds, glowing oranges, vivid violet, deep pale blues, and a vast array of silver and gray colors.

Taos is truly a magical place that has captured the imagination of many people as far back as 1,000 years ago when native people built the Taos Pueblo, one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States.

Following the arrival of this initial group of artists, the Taos area has grown to become a renowned international art market and artists' community. It is presently estimated that there are more artists, per capita, in the Taos area then in any other city in the world, including Paris France.

The Taos Art Museum is housed in the home of Nicolai Fechin (Fechin House), who with his family moved to Taos in 1927. Born in Russia, Fechin is one of the most important portrait painters of the 20th Century. His paintings of Native Americans and of the New Mexico desert landscape are considered among his best works.

The Taos Art Museum is located in front of the Fechin Inn (http://www.fechininn.com) (just two blocks from the famous Taos Plaza) at 227 Paseo del Pueblo Norte in Taos, New Mexico and its hours of operation are Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission to museum is $6.00. Sunday is free admission to Taos county residents. Discounts available for seniors, students and children. Group rates available. Call for winter hours. 505.758.2690 http://www.taosartmuseum.org

For further press information, please contact Vera Flores, Public Relations and Marketing

Phone: 505.758.0685 or cell 917.573.5856

Email: veraflorespublicrelations@msn.com

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