A Fiery Light: Will Shuster's New Mexico


A Fiery Light: Will Shuster's New Mexico

ON DISPLAY FEBRUARY 20, 2021 - JULY 25, 2021
Shuster, Trees at Canyoncito, 1930

Will Shuster, Trees at Canyoncito, circa 1930, oil on canvas, 24 1/4 x 30 1/4 in. On long term loan to the New Mexico Museum of Art from the Fine Arts Program, Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration (2815.23P) Photo by Blair Clark.

Shuster, Sermon at Cross of the Martyrs, 1934

Will Shuster, Sermon at Cross of the Martyrs, 1934, oil on canvas 48 x 35 3/4 in. Collection of the New Mexico Museum of Art. Donated in memory of Helen H. Shuster by her family, 1972 (2964.23P). Photo by Cameron Gay.

In 1920 serious health issues brought William Shuster to New Mexico, kicking off 49 years of creativity, exploration, and engagement. Almost immediately he integrated himself into Santa Fe’s burgeoning bohemian art scene, and made a reputation for himself as eccentric and passionate member of the community with an unsurpassed lust for life. Shuster embraced the unique beauty of New Mexico from Carlsbad Caverns, to Canyoncito and the Badlands. The artwork he left behind illustrates the rich culture of the state that gave him a new lease on life.     This exhibition celebrates the centennial anniversary of Shuster’s arrival in the Southwest. It highlights the artistic legacy he developed here in Santa Fe and elsewhere throughout the state and forefronts the significant artistic relationships he forged here. In addition to exhibiting the artwork that Shuster produced in New Mexico, it will look at his time as a member of Los Cinco Pintors, an early group of young Santa Fe painters devoted to “taking art to the people.” The show explores his relationship with prominent American realist painter John Sloan and his collaboration with Gustave Baumann to conceive of the now iconic Santa Fe boogeyman, Zozobra.