New Mexico Painters - 8/1/2016

One of the many treasures in the museum archives is a single sheet of paper that gives insight into a short chapter of 20th century New Mexico art history. It is the original charter document establishing the New Mexico Painters society in 1923.

The New Mexico Painters were a short-lived artist collective consisting of Frank Applegate, Jozef Bakos, Gustave Baumann, Ernest Blumenschein, William P. Henderson, Victor Higgins, B. J .O. Nordfeldt and Walter Ufer. It was an attempt to unify artists from the rival Santa Fe and Taos artist colonies. The New Mexico Painters first exhibited together at the Montross Gallery in New York City in October 1923. By 1924 the group had grown to 13 members, with John Sloan, Andrew Dasburg, Theodore Van Soelen, Randall Davey, and Walter Mruk joining. The New Mexico Painters disbanded around 1927.

Compared to the better known Taos Society of Artists (of which Blumenschein, Higgins and Ufer were members) and Cinco Pintores, the New Mexico Paintes society has been mostly forgotten over time. Ironically, the few times that this group is mentioned is in reference to the Taos Society. The New Mexico Painters were formed only a few days after the Taos Society refused to admit Jozef Bakos and William P. Henderson. According to art historian Robert R. White, the formation of the New Mexico Painters was a reaction to this rejection and directly lead to Blumenschein's resignation from the TSA.

In 1999 the Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe organized an exhibition of works from artists of the New Mexico Painters and reproduced this document in their catalog.

The New Mexico Museum of Art is lucky to have such a revealing document in our collection.


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