Editor's note: The following article, with notes, was rekeyed and reprinted on August 27, 2003 in Resource Library Magazine with permission of the author and Western Historical Quarterly, Journal of the Western History Association, at Utah State University, 0740 Old Main Hill, Utah State University, Logan, UT  84322-0740. The article was previously published in Western Historical Quarterly 9.4 (October 1978), pp. 437-454. Images accompanying the text in the Western History Association publication were not reproduced with this reprinting. If you have questions or comments regarding the article, or if you have interest in obtaining a copy of the issue containing the article, please contact the Western History Association directly through either this phone number or web address:


The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and the Development of the Taos and Santa Fe Art Colonies

by Keith L. Bryant, Jr.


During the last two decades, many corporations have engaged in significant support of the arts. Company headquarters are often decorated with important paintings and pieces of sculpture; donations have been made to symphony orchestras, museums, and public television; and several national magazines make awards annually to firms which have made major contributions to furthering the arts. Most historians, and the public, assume that this is a recently conceived effort by management to create a positive corporate "image," and, generally, that is correct. However, one of the nation's most financially successful railways, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe (ATSF), helped to nurture and sustain two colonies of artists in the West - Taos and Santa Fe - for almost forty years following their founding at the turn of the century. By providing transportation in exchange for paintings; by utilizing the paintings on calendars, brochures, menus, and train folders; by displaying the paintings in stations and ticket offices; and through the purchase of several hundred paintings from artists residing in Taos and Santa Fe, the railway helped establish northern New Mexico as an internationally recognized cultural center. Although some historians have briefly noted the railway's involvement with the colonies, the extent of that support has yet to be recognized.[1]

With the completion of the ATSF line to California and the opening of other transcontinental railroads in the late 1880s and 1890s, competition between the carriers for tourists reached a feverish pitch. At a time when color photography was unknown, paintings substituted as visual representations of the scenic wonders of the West. The ATSF, Denver and Rio Grande, Great Northern, Northern Pacific, and Southern Pacific railroads brought artists to the West to paint its grandeur and to publicize their routes. In the 1890s such leading popular painters as Thomas Moran, Henry Farney, Fernande H. Lungren, and Maynard Dixon toured the company's lines in New Mexico, Arizona, and California seeking subjects for use by the railway.[2]

Western enthusiasts, such as Charles F. Lummis, also urged American artists to paint the West as it was, before civilization destroyed its primitive beauty and eliminated the Indian culture and the Spanish heritage. Lummis wrote numerous books and articles and published many photographs depicting the artistic potentialities of the Southwest. In one magazine article Lummis declared that if an artist got "himself kicked off a Santa Fe train anywhere between Trinidad and Los Angeles, he can sit down where he lights; and get more 'subjects' than he ever dreamed of before."[3] In his enthusiasm for the development of a "Western American art," Lummis wrote: "It was an accident that the Santa Fe route when it followed the line of least resistance across "the Great American Desert" (as it was called fifty years ago) skimmed the cream of the artist's interest of the Southwest. There is no railroad in the world ... which penetrates such a wonderland of the pictorial in geography and in humanity."[4] Edward P. Ripley, president of the ATSF after its reorganization in the mid-1890s, shared Lummis's enthusiasm and brought several leading artists to the territory served by the company.

As early as 1892, the railway offered to provide the famous painter, Thomas Moran, with transportation to the Grand Canyon, and the artist agreed to assign a copyright for a single canvas to the company. Moran traveled by rail to Flagstaff and by stagecoach to the south rim where he produced one of his most spectacular works, "Grand Canyon." Escorted by two ATSF officials, Moran moved on to paint near Gallup, New Mexico, and the Laguna pueblo. His large painting of the canyon was reproduced as a six-color lithograph, and the railway distributed thousands of copies across the nation.[5]

That same year, the ATSF sent Fernand Lungren to New Mexico and Arizona where he produced thirty-eight paintings and lithographs. Several of them soon graced the pages of Harper's Weekly, Century Magazine, and St. Nicholas Magazine.[6] In addition, he provided the railway with wash drawings for a nominal fee. His initial trip proved very successful, and Ripley wrote that Lungren's works "have unquestionably been of great service to the Company."[7] Indeed, Ripley purchased one of Lungren's paintings for his Chicago home.

After 1900 the railway arranged additional western trips for artists. Moran painted in the ATSF's territory in 1900, 1901, 1902 and at Grand Canyon nearly every year until 1910. Lungren went west in 1903 with a party that included the famous Kansas editor William Allen White. He painted the Hopi, Navajo, and Pueblo Indians and provided illustrations for White's article on the Grand Canyon which appeared in McClure's Magazine.[8]

These expeditions became annual affairs with William H. Simpson, chief of the railway's advertising department in charge. Ripley created the department in 1895, and Simpson developed the policy of utilizing paintings in the company's advertising. Simpson arranged the three- to four-week-long excursions, and enticed Moran, Lungren, George Innes, Jr., and others to join them.[9] The related, but independently operated, Fred Harvey Company provided food and lodging for the expeditions and later became a patron as well. Moran produced some of his most famous works on these forays and made numerous independent trips from 1907 until 1917. Simpson became a family confidant of the Morans and made their travel arrangements, paid their Fred Harvey bills, and ultimately purchased two of Moran's works, "Petrified Forest" and "Grand Canyon."[10] These annual visits produced numerous drawings, paintings, and lithographs for museums, magazines, and books, all glorifying the majesty of the West, the railway, and the food and lodging provided by Fred Harvey.

The railway also discovered the value of the Indians of Arizona and New Mexico as tourist attractions. Beginning in 1903, the company aided famed Indian portrait painter Louis Akin, who toured Arizona painting the Hopi. A student of William Merritt Chase, Akin produced excellent depictions of Indian life, which were reproduced as prints, on book jackets, and in railway advertising material.[11]

Simpson achieved an artistic coup in 1906 when the Railway agreed to provide transportation to painter William R. Leigh for his first western visit. Leigh became known as the "Sagebrush Rembrandt" during the next five decades, and his fame as an illustrator and painter came to rival that of Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell. Leigh specialized in cowboy life and frontier scenes, as well as landscapes, adding yet another romantic element to the railway's expanding advertising program. The ATSF bought five of Leigh's paintings of the Grand Canyon and utilized them to publicize its recently constructed branch to the Canyon and El Tovar Hotel and Bright Angel Lodge located on the rim.[12]

Simpson vastly expanded the operations of the advertising department after the turn of the century, even as the railway opened new passenger stations, Fred Harvey restaurants, and off-line freight and passenger offices. These new facilities needed interior decorations, and Simpson proposed to use southwestern art. Further, he urged that paintings be purchased for use in advertising to avoid any legal questions concerning reproduction rights. The railway's management agreed and gave Simpson authority to purchase, sell, trade, and use such paintings as needed for advertising and decoration subject only to the limits of his departmental budget.[13] Thus, in 1903, the railway acquired its first painting and initiated what would become one of the largest and finest collections of southwestern art in the country.

Simpson sought paintings of the Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest, frontier scenes, portraits of southwestern Indians, and landscapes of the region. He looked for brilliant colors, realism, and romanticism in the pictures. Because of the gigantic size of ticket offices and waiting rooms, he required huge canvases measured in feet, not inches.[14] Simpson's quest for such paintings began even as Taos and Santa Fe emerged as artistic colonies. Ironically, many of the artists, by training and predilection, could provide Simpson with exactly the paintings he sought.

Initially, Simpson bought pictures from artists who participated in his arranged tours, or he exchanged passenger tickets and lodging expenses for paintings. In 1903 he acquired "Evening in the Arizona Desert" from Bertha Mengler Dressier, and this scene of a stagecoach with San Francisco Peaks in the background initiated the collection. A graduate of the Chicago Art Institute who later studied in Paris, Mrs. Dressier became an accomplished landscape painter. She and many other artists found the railway an eager patron. Indeed, Simpson's annual rate of acquisition fairly soared from three paintings in 1905 to 108 in 1907. In ten years he purchased, or acquired in exchange for transportation, 262 paintings, many from residents of Taos and Santa Fe. The initiation of the famous Santa Fe Railway calendar in 1907 required some of the purchases, and the painting selected for the calendar would soon be found on the walls of 300,000 homes, schools, and offices.[15] Few artists could hope for such recognition; the painters of Taos and Santa Fe discovered a remarkable opportunity.

At the turn of the century Taos was a small village located in a lush valley deep in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. The 7,000 foot elevation provided crystal clear skies which contrasted sharply with the vivid colors of the aspen groves, piñon pine forests, and stands of cottonwoods. The deep blue, azure, purple, red, and rose skies stretched over the eroded arroyos, mesas, buttes, and canyons with their yellow, red, orange, and brown earth colors. Taos celebrity Mabel Dodge Luhan later declared: "Everyone is surprised at that first view of Taos Valley - it is so beautiful. The mountains, eighteen miles away, curve half round it in a crescent, and the desert lies within its dark encircling grasp. Taos is an oasis, emerald-green beyond the sagebrush, drinking water from the high mountain lakes and streams."[16] The pristine air, the natural colors and the light, the brilliant light, overwhelmed the viewer. The village contained a pueblo some 400 years old and a century-old church. Both contributed to the primitive effect of the valley. Ernest L. Blumenschein, to become one of the most famous of the Taos artists, remembered: "When I came into this valley - for the first time in my life, I saw whole paintings right before my eyes. Everywhere I looked I saw paintings perfectly organized ready for paint."[17] Artist Joseph Henry Sharp must he given credit for discovering this paradise.

Joseph Sharp studied with the western painter Henry Farney and became fascinated with the American Indian. He visited Santa Fe in 1883 and Taos in 1893. Two years later he went to Europe where he met Blumenschein and Bert Phillips, students at the Academie Julian in Paris. He described the wonder of northern New Mexico and encouraged them to return to the United States and visit the area. Blumenschein toured the West in 1897-98 for McClure's Magazine, and in the latter year Phillips joined him in Denver. They traveled by wagon south to Taos, arriving on September 4. Both men found the area captivating, so much so that Phillips decided to become a permanent resident. Blumenschein returned to Paris, where he extolled the virtues of the area and its "fresh material" to E. Irving Couse, who would come in 1902. Earlier, Saint Louis artist Oscar E. Berninghaus had visited Taos while touring the Rockies under the auspices of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad and determined to return each summer. The foundation of the colony was laid.[18]

These artists sought to record a "dying race" and the grandeur of the landscape. They discovered the quiet dignity of the Indians and the romance of the indigenous cultures. The blending of the Indian, Spanish, and Anglo-American societies in the semiwilderness captured their artistic imaginations. Blumenschein wrote that "the fertile valley was a beautiful sight, an inspiration for those who ply the brush for happiness," while another member of the colony, Herbert Dunton, claimed the artists selected Taos because "there was no other place which lent to them so enduring an appeal - remote from commercialism and the sordid, restful in its peaceful isolation, quiet along its crooked valley, in the soft shadows of the adobe walls."[19] Simpson could not have described the area better in a brochure or on an advertising poster.

Neither could Simpson have improved upon the educational backgrounds of these artists for his purposes. Sharp, Phillips, Blumenschein, and Couse had been trained at Academie Julian, the most important European art school in the 1890s. They studied with Benjamin Constant, Adolphe Bougereau, and Robert Fleury, masters of a rigid and conventional style of salon painting. They would be joined in Taos by E. Martin Hennings, who studied at the Munich Royal Academy, and by Walter Ufer, who had been a student at the Royal Academy in Dresden. While all were traditionalists, not impressionists, their use of bright light and color was closer to the Armory Show exhibitors than to the academic painters of France and Germany. They represented part of a revolt against both impressionism and studio painting. Interested in life and reality, they were relatively close to John Sloan, William Glackens, Maurice Prendergast, and Robert Henri in style, if not in urban subject matter. [20]

Further, many of them had training or experience as illustrators or commercial artists. Several had drawn pictures for books, magazines, and even postcards. Berninghaus had worked as a lithographer and was a skilled illustrator, as were Laverne Nelson Black, Blumenschein, Gerald Cassidy, Dunton, Hennings, and Ufer. They knew how to create paintings which could he printed for mass circulation, and they recognized the limits of public taste. They could be counted upon to produce pictures that Simpson would find useful for his purposes.[21]

The close artistic affiliations of the early painters led to the formation of the Taos Society of Artists in 1912 to promote the sale of their works. The society proved financially successful from the outset, and its members - Berninghaus, Blumenschein, Dunton, Couse, Sharp, and Phillips - agreed to admit only artists who had won a major prize and whose work was acceptable to the membership. In 1914 the society added Ufer and Victor Higgins, who had come to Taos as protégés of Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison. Only eight of the one hundred artists residing in Taos belonged to the society, but they represented the strength of the colony.[22] "The fame of the Society was not a slow and painful growth," wrote Kenneth Adams, the last member to be admitted, "recognition and favorable publicity came to the Taos group immediately after its organization."[23] No one worked harder to publicize the colony than Simpson, and many of the artists, consciously or unconsciously, produced "commercial" paintings for the Railway.[24]

The production of "marketable" works did not represent a significant stylistic shift for the Taos artists. They possessed a humanistic orientation and a romantic vision. The geography and subject matter did transform their styles somewhat, and they placed greater emphasis on color, light, and broad brush strokes. The vast expanse of sky and the terrain lent themselves to huge colorful canvases. Some of the artists, like Ufer, moved toward extreme realism, while others, such as Higgins, became more lyrical in their work.[25] The circumstances of geography helped to influence the painters to produce the style of art sought by Simpson.

The Taos painters also owed a debt to the Indian artists and craftsmen. The designs on their pottery and blankets and the Indian's employment of color influenced the Anglo painters. As subjects, the Indians provided unique opportunities for portraits, and their homes, dances, costumes, crafts, and religion became a major source of inspiration to the society and its contemporaries.[26] One student of Indian art claimed that: "Taos painting has been largely preoccupied in delineating Indian life as objective subject matter rather than incorporating its subjective values. Yet so powerful has been Indian influence on painting that this art form has given Taos its reputation as an art center."[27] Further, he contended, "Reproductions of Irving Couse's Indian paintings for the annual calendars of the Santa Fe railroad made him and them known to millions."[28]

The colony did become internationally famous and represented a vital phase of American artistic life. Mabel Dodge and her husband, painter Maurice Sterne, arrived in 1916, and Mrs. Dodge created a salon of widespread fame and notoriety. By the 1920s the artists had been joined by D. H. Lawrence, Lady Dorothy Brett, Willa Cather, Leopold Stokowski, Thornton Wilder, and Robinson Jeffers.[29] Thus, the Taos colony generated interested in the region and its tourist attractions, and the railway's passenger service profited.

The Taos artists identified with the primitive picturesqueness of the region, and they introduced romantic motives to American art. Their paintings maintained a strong studio quality in the academic tradition even as the subject matter became more natural. Most were exponents of "new realism," but few of the original group altered their styles in the 1920s. Nevertheless, in two decades this small village which had never heard a train whistle became a cultural center of widespread reputation.[30]

Simultaneously, the nearby capital town of Santa Fe also developed a smaller but equally flourishing art colony. As early as 1914, Gerald Cassidy and Sheldon Parsons painted in Santa Fe, and Warren E. Rollins had exhibited in the capital five years before. Life in the small town was pleasant and inexpensive. Local residents accepted the artists and their non-Bohemian life style; both the Indian and Spanish traditions respected the role of the artist in the society. The painters of Santa Fe shared the backgrounds and training of their colleagues in Taos and produced similar works. The School of American Archaeology helped to further their artistic interest in the Indians, although several of the painters, such as Cassidy and Rollins, emphasized Spanish rather than Indian themes. The railway found their works useful, acquiring numerous paintings from members of the Santa Fe colony.[31]

By 1920, the colonies at Taos and Santa Fe could claim to be the most vigorous art centers in the West and were equalled by only two or three other locales in the nation. The land of "sun, silence and adobe," with its three cultural heritages, became a haven for a large body of artists and writers and a major tourist attraction for the railway.[32]

Throughout the first two decades of the colonies' existence, the railway supported individual artists with purchases and the communities with publicity. Simpson established strong personal ties with the painters, and they provided artistic advice, solicited and unsolicited. Shortly after Simpson purchased "Old War Bonnet" from Joseph Henry Sharp, the artist wrote that the ATSF should create a collection of paintings of Taos artists and send them on tour throughout the United States.[33] His suggestion was ignored for fifty years. To further publicize the colony, Oscar Berninghaus supplied Simpson with color slides of himself and an Indian model which were used to illustrate lectures about New Mexico sponsored by the railway.[34] Clearly, the artists recognized the importance of the ATSF's support.

Many of the Taos and Santa Fe artists lived in New Mexico only in the spring and summer months, residing in New York, Chicago, or Saint Louis during the fall and winter. The railway often provided transportation and meal tickets from Fred Harvey in exchange for paintings to enable the artists to make trips between their studios. Simpson sometimes purchased a painting and established travel credit for the artist and his family rather than paying cash.[35] In many cases he arranged for the travel of dependents, often meeting their trains at Chicago's Dearborn station and transferring them to connections to and from the East. Simpson used correspondence about these personal services as opportunities to "suggest" work for the railway.

Simpson proved to be a demanding patron of the New Mexico artists. When the railway created its exhibit for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in California, Simpson selected a Berninghaus painting, "Taos Pueblo," for display, but only after the artist agreed to accept passenger tickets from the railway in lieu of cash.[36] Simpson also negotiated at great length on the question of price. He generally offered far less than the artists originally asked for their work, and exchanges of letters, while always friendly in tone, became tedious and often continued for years. For example, Simpson and Dunton corresponded for almost three years before the railway acquired "The Old Santa Fe Trail."[37]

Simpson also "suggested" alterations in compositions and subjects suitable for the railway's advertising purposes. Even Simpson's favorite artist, Irving Couse, received detailed instructions from Simpson. The railway used Couse paintings on its calendars twenty-two times, including every year from 1923 to 1938. Eventually the ATSF acquired twenty-seven Couse paintings, the largest privately owned collection. But, Couse painted in the same studio style throughout his career and treated his Indian subjects with idealism and romantic sentiment.[38] The artist constantly submitted paintings for consideration as calendar subjects, and Simpson would respond by suggesting "use more white," or "work over the face." Simpson commissioned some Couse paintings, and when he needed four pictures for the Los Angeles office he asked the artist for a cost estimate. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s Couse sold his works to the railway, never experimenting with his technique or subjects. As a result, he earned a very good living, but the patronage did not further his maturation as an artist.[39] Couse's relationship with the railway provided some substance to the charge made by several of the artists that the ATSF fostered commercialism; but, the railway's purchases sustained many of the artists and enabled them to travel to Santa Fe, Taos, and the Grand Canyon.

From 1909 to 1918, Simpson made a number of purchases or obtained paintings in exchange for travel and lodging. The number of acquisitions varied from seventy-three in 1917, to ten in 1910, with most of the paintings coming from residents of Taos and Santa Fe. But, not all of the painters living in New Mexico came to be represented in the railway's growing collection. After 1915 several members of "The Eight" visited New Mexico and painted landscapes and Indian portraits.[40] Simpson stayed with the style of art he knew, however, and did not purchase works from George Bellows, John Mann, John Sloan, or Marsden Hartley. Sheldon Parsons wrote to Simpson about Robert Henri and gave the painter a card of introduction. Henri's Mexican and Indian portraits were brilliant in color and beautifully done, but the style was more impressionistic than Simpson felt acceptable for calendars and brochures. Simpson preferred to order paintings by size and from small sketches submitted by the artists prior to the completion of a work.[41] Nevertheless, when several of "his" artists began to alter their styles in the 1920s, Simpson continued to make purchases.

Couse, Ufer, Sharp, Cassidy, and Phillips remained aloof from the changes taking place in American art. Visits by members of "The Eight" failed to shake their commitment to romanticism and formula compositions. Couse earned as much as $20,000 yearly, and Ufer's works sold readily at $3,000 to $5,000 each. Three of the members of the society did change their styles and did so successfully. Berninghaus moved from clear-cut linear compositions to rich colors and interwoven conceptions; Blumenschein turned to abstractions, employing shape, shadow, and patches of color; and Higgins moved to interlocking planes.[42] One of the finest pieces Simpson collected came from Higgins after he made a substantial shift in style.

Simpson accelerated his purchases in the 1920s as passenger traffic soared and as the railway opened new ticket offices and remodeled several stations. In 1927, for example, he purchased "Before the Fiesta" from La Verne Nelson Black. The huge picture was typical of Black's broad brush strokes, warm hues, and modest hints of detail.[43] The year before, Simpson bought a large painting by Blumenschein for the Los Angeles ticket office, even though it was not as large as others selected for the room. He ordered a painting from Gerald Cassidy by size, and the artist suggested a subject which Simpson found suitable. The result, "Navajos on the Way to Laguna Fiesta," proved to be a lyrical work covering vast space with light and color.[45] He bought another painting from Santa Fe artist Theodore Van Soelen for the same office.[46] These were only a few of the 132 paintings purchased between 1922 and 1931, largely from Taos and Santa Fe residents.

The railway also publicized the two art colonies in cooperation with the Fred Harvey Company. Although an independent corporation, Fred Harvey worked very closely with the railway in promoting passenger service and tours. Harvey operated hotels and restaurants in the West and the dining cars on the ATSF.[47] The Fred Harvey managers also showed an interest in western art for advertising purposes. Fred Harvey used reproductions of paintings on postcards, brochures, and posters and displayed some paintings in its hotels, such as La Fonda in Santa Fe. In the 1920s the railway and Fred Harvey operated train-bus tours through the Pueblo country of New Mexico. These "Indian Detours" brought tourists to the Pueblos and to the art colonies. A Van Soelen painting, "Acequia Madre," owned by the railway, was used as part of the advertising for the "Detours," and one of the stops on the tour was Sheldon Parsons's studio in Santa Fe.[48] Harvey commissioned Warren E. Rollins, a Santa Fe artist, to paint large murals in the Gallup, New Mexico, Harvey House.[49] Thus, the railway and Fred Harvey furthered public knowledge and recognition of the colonies and their leading artisans.

When the Great Depression vastly reduced Simpson's budget for purchasing paintings, acquisitions fell to one or two a year, and for three years he made no purchases at all. Simpson haggled with the artists over prices and bought them as cheaply as possible, sometimes dividing the payments over several months. Couse remained his favorite, and each year he negotiated with the artist for a painting suitable for the next calendar.[50] Simpson's personal relations with the artists remained warm, and he visited them on his frequent trips to the West. After Simpson left the department in 1933, his successors continued to employ the art collection as an adjunct of the advertising program.[51]

The depression not only devastated the financial underpinnings of the colonies, but also saw the deaths of several of the leading artists - Couse and Ufer, among others. Few of the artists who came in the early 1920s made Taos and Santa Fe their permanent homes, and the structure of the two colonies collapsed by 1940. The painters who remained functioned as individuals, not as part of a "society" of artists.[52]

The railway's collection numbered over 500 works by 1940, but relatively few additions were made until the mid-1950s. Not until 1966 did the ATSF exhibit portions of its holdings, and only then did the public, and most art critics, realize the depth and breadth of the collection. An exhibit at the National Archives enhanced public and critical appreciation of the collection, but the important role of the railway in furthering the development of the colonies was still not apparent.[53]

For over seventy-five years the ATSF has supported the artists in Taos and Santa Fe through purchases, publicity, reproduction of their paintings, and by bringing tourists to the region and their studios. The artists responded by providing paintings suitable for the railway's purposes. Not a partnership, perhaps, but a cooperation which supported the needs of both the corporation and the residents of the colonies. As a result, the railway has acquired one of the nation's finest collections of western American art.[54]



1. The author wishes to thank F. A. Tipple, general manager of advertising, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, and Paul Benisek, curator of the railway's art collection, for their help and cooperation.

2. Indians and the American West, Paintings from the Collection of the Santa Fe Industries Inc., National Archives, Special Exhibition, October 26, 1973-January 21, 1974; Robert Taft, Artists and Illustrators of the Old West, 1850-1900 (New York, 1953), 239-40; Wesley M. Burnside, Maynard Dixon: Artist of the West (Provo, Utah, 1974); Paul A. Rossi and David C. Hunt, The Art of the Old West: From the Collection of the Gilcrease Institute (New York, 1971), 307-9; Dorothy Harmsen, Harmsen's Western Americana (Flagstaff, Arizona, 1971), 122.

3. Charles F. Lummis, "The Artists' Paradise," Out West, XXVIII (June 1908), 451.

4. Charles F. Lummis, "The Artists' Paradise II," Out West, XXIX (September 1908), 191.

5. Thurman Wilkins, Thomas Moran: Artist of the Mountains (Norman, 1966), 198-200, 204-5; Larry Curry, The American West: Painters from Catlin to Russell (New York, 1972), 44; Merle Armitage, Operations Santa Fe (New York, 1948), 118; Keith L. Bryant, Jr., History of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (New York, 1974), 120.

6. Taft, Artists and Illustrators of the Old West, 239-40; John A. Berger, Fernand Lungren (Santa Barbara, California, 1936), 55-59.

7. Berger, Fernand Lungren, 59.

8. Berger, Fernand Lungren, 134-36.

9. Wilkins, Thomas Moran, 216-19.

10. William H. Simpson to J. M. Connell, February 12, 1914, and January 22, 1915. (Connell was the general passenger agent.) See also many letters to and from Simpson and Thomas Moran and Moran's daughter, Ruth, from 1907 to 1920 in the files of the Advertising Department, Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, Chicago (cited hereafter as ATSF Files). For the development of the Fred Harvey Fine Arts Collection see Karen Fisher, "The Fred Harvey Collection," Southwestern Art, V (Winter 1976-77), 4-26.

11. Bruce B. Babbitt, Color and Light: The Southwestern Canvases of Louis Akin (Flagstaff, Arizona, 1973), ix, 2, 21-22, 26-27; Indians and the American West, not paginated; Peggy and Harold Samuels, The Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West (Garden City, 1976), 5.

12. Paintings of the Southwest from the Santa Fe Railway Collection (Phoenix, 1966), 6; The West and Walter Bimson (Tucson, 1971), 109; Harmsen, Harmsen's Western Americana, 122; Rossi and Hunt, Art of the Old West, 307, 309; Ed Ainsworth, The Cowboy in Art (New York, 1968), 56; "Historic Record" ledger in ATSF Files.

13. Interview with F. A. Tipple, June 17, 1976; Indians and the American West.

14. "Santa Fe Collects Oil Paintings," Railway Age, LXXXI (November 13, 1926), 932.

15. "Artists of the Santa Fe," American Heritage, XXVII (February 1976), 70; Phil Kovinick, The Woman Artist in the American West (Fullerton, California, 1976), 1-2, 46; "Historic Record" ledger in ATSF Files; "The Santa Fe Collection of Western Art," the official record of each painting in the collection, ATSF Files; Armitage, Operations Santa Fe, 111-16.

16. Mabel Dodge Luhan, Lorenzo in Taos (New York, 1932), 43.

17. Dorothy Skousen Black, "A Study of Taos as an Art Colony and of Representative Taos Painters" (master's thesis, University of New Mexico, 1949), 8.

18. Taft, Artists and Illustrators of the Old West, 244-46; Van Deren Coke, Taos and Santa Fe: The Artists' Environment, 1882-1942 (Albuquerque, 1963), 11-14; Ernest L. Blumenschein, "Origins of the Taos Art Colony," El Palacio, XX (May 1926), 190-93; Luhan, Lorenzo in Taos, 11-12. The best study of the emergence and flowering of the Taos and Santa Fe colonies is Kay Aiken Reeve, "The Making of an American Place: The Development of Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico, as an American Cultural Center, 1898-1942" (doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University, 1977).

19. Coke, Taos and Santa Fe, 9; Ernest Blumenschein, "The Taos Society of Artists," American Magazine of Art, VIII (September 1917), 445; W. Herbert Dunton, "The Painters of Taos," American Magazine of Art, XIII (August 1922), 247.

20 A. N. Jensen, "The Academic Julian and the Academic Tradition in Taos," El Palacio, LXXIX (December 1973), 37-42; James Mann Gaither, "A Return to the Village: A Study of Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico, as Cultural Centers, 1900-1934" (doctoral dissertation, University of Minnesota, 1957), 108-11; Black, "A Study of Taos," 4-7.

21. Harmsen, Harmsen's Western Americana, 44, 68, 192; The West and Walter Bimson, 27, 28; Black, "A Study of Taos," 14-16; Coke, Taos and Santa Fe, 29-30, 44-47; Laura Bickerstaff, Pioneer Artists of Taos (Denver, 1955), 22-42, 55-68, 1-6; F. Warner Robinson, "Dunton-Westerner," American Magazine of Art, XV (October 1924), 501-8; Reeve, "The Making of an American Place," 40.

22. Harmsen, Harmsen's Western Americana, 18; Coke, Taos and Santa Fe, 23-27; Black, "A Study of Taos," 149; Gaither, "A Return to the Village," 69.

23. Kenneth M. Adams, "Los Ocho Pintores," New Mexico Quarterly, XXI (Summer 1951), 148.

24. Gaither, "A Return to the Village," 113; Coke, Taos and Santa Fe, 59.

25. Pat Trenton, Picturesque Images from Taos and Santa Fe (Denver, 1974), 5; Black, "A Study of Taos," 129-31.

26. Ernest Blumenschein and Bert G. Phillips, "Appreciation of Indian Art," El Palacio, VI (May 1919), 178-79.

27. Frank Waters, "Indian Influence on Taos Art," New Mexico Quarterly, XXI (Spring 1951), 176; Reeve, "The Making of an American Place," 135-67.

28. Waters, "Indian Influence on Taos Art," 177.

29. Black, "A Study of Taos," 22; "A Unique Art Colony," Christian Science Monitor, February 10, 1919, p. 9.

30. Samuel Isham, The History of American Painting (New York, 1933), 575; Rossi and Hunt, Art of the Old West, 301; Gaither, "A Return to the Village," 3, 18; Duncan Pollock, "The Philip Anschutz Collection of Western Painting," American Art Review, XI (November-December 1975), 111.

31. Harmsen, Harmsen's Western Americana, 3-5; Gaither, "A Return to the Village," 118; Coke, Taos and Santa Fe, 27-28; Reeve, "The Making of an American Place," 220-21; Edna Robertson arid Sarah Nestor, Artists of the Canyons and Caminos: Santa Fe, the Early Years (n.p., 1976), passim.

32. Paul A. F. Walter, "The Santa Fe-Taos Art Movement," Art and Archeology, IV (December 1916), 330-38; Fred Hamilton Rindge, "Taos - A Unique Colony of Artists," American Magazine of Art, XVII (September 1926), 447-53.

33. Sharp to Simpson, April 20, 1917, ATSF Files.

34. Berninghaus to Simpson, August 17, 1916, and Simpson to Berninghaus, August 3, 1916, ATSF Files.

35. Berninghaus to Simpson, November 22, 1917, and June 19, 1916, Herbert Dunton to Simpson, December 31, 1914, and June 15, 1915, ATSF Files.

36. Simpson to Berninghaus, March 30, 1914, ATSF Files.

37. See numerous letters from Dunton to Simpson from 1920 to 1923, especially April 8, 1923, ATSF Files.

38. Nicholas Woloshuk, Jr., Paintings by E. Irving Couse (Palm Desert, California, n.d.), passim; Alta Edmundson, "E. Irving Couse, Painter of Indians," Panhandle-Plains Historical Review, XLII (1969), 14; Coke, Taos and Santa Fe, 14-45; Bickerstaff, Pioneer Artists of Taos, 43-54.

39. For examples, see Simpson to Couse, November 19, 1931, February 10, 1927, January 14, 1927, August 20, 1926, and March 17, 1925, ATSF Files.

40. "The Eight" included Arthur B. Davies, Ernest Lawson, George Luks, Maurice Prendergast, Everett Shinn, William Glackens, John Sloan, and Robert Henri. They led a revolt in American painting against both the Impressionists and the Academics. Henri and Sloan encouraged other artists, such as George Bellows, to spend several summers in Taos and Santa Fe. See Mahonri Sharp Young, The Eight (New York, 1973), 36-41, and William Innes Homer, Robert Henri and His Circle (Ithaca, 1969), 202-5.

41. Tipple interview; Parsons to Simpson, October 12, 1916, and Simpson to Parsons, January 31, 1917, ATSF Files.

42. Coke, Taos and Santa Fe. 60-63.

43 Doris Ostrander Dowdy, Artists of the American West: A Biographical Dictionary (Chicago, 1974), 25; The West and Walter Bimson, 27; Harmsen, Harmsen's Western Americana, 24; Trenton, Picturesque Images from Taos and Santa Fe, 27.

44. Simpson to Blumenschein, November 12, 1926, and Blumenschein to Simpson, October 14, 1926, ATSF Files.

45. Simpson to Cassidy, July 3, 1924, and Cassidy to Simpson, June 23 and August 15, 1926, ATSF Files; Trenton, Picturesque Images from Taos and Santa Fe, 45.

46. Simpson to Van Soelen, July 29, 1926, ATSF Files.

47. Bryant, History of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, 119-21, 332-33.

48. Taft, Artists and Illustrators of the Old West, 380; Gaither, A Return to the Village, 44-46; Simpson to R. H. Clarkson (?), 1928, and Parsons to Simpson, April 8, 1926, ATSF Files; Robertson and Nestor, Artists of the Canyons and Caminos, 86.

49. Trenton, Picturesque Images from Taos and Santa Fe, 178.

50. See Simpson to Roger Birdseye, October 27, 1932, Couse to Simpson, December 28, 1931, and October 26, 1930, Simpson to Couse, November 11, 1931, ATSF Files. Also Kibbey W. Couse to C. J. Birchfield, October 27, 1936, and January 8, 1937, and memo dated May 27, 1936, by Birchfield on the 1938 calendar, ATSF Files.

51. Armitage, Operations Santa Fe, 111-16.

52. Coke, Taos and Santa Fe, 59.

53. Santa Fe Magazine, LIX (May 1966), 45.

54. In 1972 the railway sold a number of paintings to the Anshchutz Collection, and the decline of passenger service eliminated the need for ticket offices where pictures had been displayed. Nevertheless, the advertising department continues to buy paintings and arrange exhibitions. The calendar and other publications continue to utilize reproductions from the collection, to which thirty-two paintings have been added since 1963.


About the author, at time of original publication in Western Historical Quarterly:

Keith L. Bryant, Jr., is professor and head of the department of history at Texas A & M University, College Station.

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

rev. 11/20/10

Editor's note: On 11/14/17 TFAO received an email from David L. Witt Curator, Seton Legacy Project, wishing to bring to the attention of readers that the Taos Society of Artists was founded in July 1915.

Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.

This page was originally published in 2003 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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