Gilcrease Museum

Tulsa, OK

918/596-2700, toll-free at 888/655-2278


Taos Artists and Their Patrons, 1898-1950


Taos Artists and Their Patrons, 1898-1950, is the first major exhibition in more than a decade to focus on the art produced in this community of Northern New Mexico. The exhibition opened on May 16, 1999.

Organized by The Snite Museum of Art at The University of Notre Dame in Indiana, Gilcrease Museum is the opening venue for this exhibition of ninety-two works, including sixty-three oil paintings, eighteen watercolors, eight etchings, and three sculptures. In addition to major works from both the Snite Museum and Gilcrease Museum, other institutions lending works to this exhibition include: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, The Harwood Museum of the University of New Mexico in Taos, the Phoenix Art Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C., the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Rockwell Museum in Corning, New York, and the National Academy of Design in New York. In all, thirty-five museums, private collectors, organizations, and dealers have contributed artworks to Taos Artists and Their Patrons, 1898-1950 .

This exhibition commemorates the founding of the Taos art colony in 1898, but, more importantly, it examines the achievements of artists while celebrating those individuals and organizations who supported these artists­the patrons. Although European art patronage has received substantial scholarly attention, this is the first major study to explore the economic survival techniques exploited by American artists during the first half of the twentieth century.

More than monetary support, however, this exhibition takes a broader look at the meaning of patronage to encompass those who fostered the artists' creative efforts in other, less tangible ways, including commercial, governmental, spousal, literary, and emotional support. Artists, too, were patrons of other artists and even themselves. And patronage could have both beneficial and detrimental effects on the artists and their work.

Taos Artists and Their Patrons, 1898-1950 examines artists' age-old dilemmas: how to use every possible resource of time, energy, and creative impulse to create art and still manage to pay the bills. This exhibition deals with the less frequently considered issue of emotional support­how to fuel the fires of creative passion and feed the spirit; how to provide food, clothing, and shelter, not only for the artist, but in most cases for a spouse and children. During the first half of the twentieth century, patronage in its many guises provided solutions to these dilemmas for many Taos artists.

Taos Artists and Their Patrons, 1898-1950 will explore in detail the relationships between patrons and artists that grew out of their shared passion for Taos. Examples of these patron/artist relationships include William Haskell Simpson and the Santa Fe Railway with artist Eanger Irving Couse; John D. Rockefeller Jr. and Thomas Gilcrease with Joseph Henry Sharp; Chicago mayor Carter H. Harrison Jr. with Walter Ufer, William Victor Higgins, and E. Martin Hennings; the city of Cincinnati with Oscar E. Berninghaus; The Art Institute of Chicago with members of the Taos Society of Artists; Gilcrease Museum with Ernest L. Blumenschein and Joseph Henry Sharp, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art with the Taos "moderns."

Following the Gilcrease venue, the exhibition will travel to The Snite Museum of Art, The Phoenix Art Museum, The Albuquerque Museum, and conclude in the fall of 2000 at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio.

In conjunction with Taos Artists and Their Patrons, 1898-1950, a 420-page book/exhibition catalogue has been produced with over 400 images, more than 175 in color. All the works in the exhibition will be featured. The book was written by Dean A. Porter, Ph.D., director of The Snite Museum of Art, Theresa Ebie, curator of Southwest Art at The Snite Museum of Art, and Suzan Campbell, an independent scholar in Santa Fe and general editor for the book.

Funding for the Gilcrease venue of Taos Artists and Their Patrons, 1898-1950 is provided by The Ray and Milann Siegfried Family.


Read more about the Gilcrease Museum in Resource Library Magazine

For further biographical information on selected artists cited in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 10/18/10

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