Harwood Museum

of the University of New Mexico

Taos, NM

505.758.9826

Harwood Facade, photo by John Rudiak, 1998



 

Parallel Lives: Andrew Dasburg, Kenneth Adams, Ward Lockwood and the Modern Tradition, Selections from the University's Collection

 

The Harwood Museum of Art announces the exhibition Parallel Lives: Andrew Dasburg, Kenneth Adams, Ward Lockwood and the Modern Tradition, Selections from the University's Collection which opens on December 10. 2000 and is on view through February 11, 2001 in the Peter and Madeleine Martin Foundation Gallery. This exhibition, curated by David Witt, examines the connections between three artists and their important role in developing modern art in Taos. (left: Kenneth Miller Adams (1897-1966), Muchado, n.d., oil, Harwood Museum)

By the 1920's Taos was established as an American art colony whose artists were involved in notable exhibitions throughout the United States. As Taos gained recognition, more artists were attracted to the community. The first generation of Taos artists, including members of the Taos Society of Artists, painted in the representational manners of the Nineteenth Century. While many of the newer arrivals, including Dasburg, Adams, and Lockwood, followed a less traditional path.

This exhibition features work by Andrew Michael Dasburg (1887-1979), Kenneth Miller Adams (1897-1966), and John Ward Lockwood (1894-1963). These men worked closely together and became prominent figures in the Taos art community during the 1920's and 30's.

Andrew Dasburg was the first of these artists to arrive in Taos. Dasburg began his studies at the Arts Students League in New York, and later continued under artist Robert Henri. His early work, inspired by Cézanne, Matisse and the Italian Futurists was exhibited in the 1913 Armory Show. In 1918 Dasburg first visited Taos as a close friend of Mabel Dodge [Luhan]. For the next fifteen years he returned annually to New Mexico, permanently moving to Taos in 1933. His influence as a teacher was felt by many throughout his long and prolific career. (left: Andrew Dasburg, Woman Plastering, 1935, ink, Harwood Museum)

Kenneth Adams, a student of Dasburg's at the Woodstock Art Colony in Woodstock, New York, followed his teacher's advice by studying in Paris and experiencing first-hand the work of
Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso and Braque. In 1924 Adams followed Dasburg to New Mexico. The older artists in the community took to him immediately and in 1926 he became the final and youngest artist to join the Taos Society of Artists.

Ward Lockwood studied at the University of Kansas, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and in Paris. A friend of Adams, Lockwood moved to Taos in 1926 where he was introduced to Dasburg. As with Adams before him, Lockwood found in Dasburg his greatest art mentor. Like Dasburg, Lockwood's early landscapes were greatly influenced by Cézanne. Throughout his career in Taos, Lockwood was concerned with balancing his observed reality of the landscape with the formal issues underlying structure and contrasting paint surfaces. (left: Ward Lockwood, Episode, c. 1958, oil, 33 x 46 inches, Harwood Museum)

In 1938, Dasburg, Adams and Lockwood went their separate ways. Ward Lockwood left Taos to pursue a teaching career first at University of Texas, Austin and finally to the University of California, Berkeley. During these years Lockwood kept his home and studio in Taos, returning periodically to visit. Kenneth Adams also left Taos in 1938 to take on a teaching position at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Andrew Dasburg was the only artist of the group to remain in Taos full-time until his death in 1979.

The paintings, prints, and drawings in this exhibition illustrate how the artistic careers of these men were influenced not only by their unique friendship, but also by mutual interest in the modern art movement in Taos. Parallel Lives: Andrew Dasburg, Kenneth Adams, Ward Lockwood and the Modern Tradition, Selections from the University's Collection contains works from the permanent collections of the Harwood Museum and The University of New Mexico's Art Museum in Albuquerque.

The Harwood Museum invites the public to attend an opening reception for Parallel Lives: Andrew Dasburg, Kenneth Adams, Ward Lockwood and the Modern Tradition, Selections from the University's Collection on Sunday, December 10 from 3-5 pm.

 

Essay from the exhibition catalogue by David L. Witt, Curator

This exhibition is about the other story of the Taos art colony. While the contributions of the Taos Society of Artists are identified as the story of Taos art, there is the concurrent story of other, mostly young artists, who established themselves in Taos during the 1920s. Born in the late 1880s or 1890s, they found in Taos (and Santa Fe) artistic communities that, although having come into being some years earlier, were only in the 1920s coming into major prominence.

From the beginning, art colony founders Bert Phillips, Ernest Blumenschein, and Joseph Sharp had hoped that more artists would join them. The arrival of new, younger men and women after World War I reinforced the vitality of this growing art center. Among the many who came (hundreds visited, dozens made extended or repeat visits, and a handful remained as residents) three of those who established careers in New Mexico formed a particularly close association with each other.

The first of these was Andrew Michael Dasburg (1887-1979) whose Cézanne-inspired painting cast him among the first American artists to understand Modernism. He was an influential teacher at the art colony in Woodstock, New York; later, at least three of his students would become Taos residents. He first visited the mountain community at the behest of Mabel Dodge Luhan who had herself only recently arrived. She asked him to bring her a cook and he did so at the beginning of 1918. Dasburg was overwhelmed by the beauty of the place and was also captivated by its cultures. He soon set about buying and selling local art and artifacts, including retablos for Mabel who later donated them to the Harwood.

The first of Dasburg's students to follow him to Taos was Kenneth Miller Adams (1897-1963). Adams early on recognized his proclivity for art and by the time he was nineteen moved from Kansas to study at the Art Institute of Chicago. He later studied with Dasburg in New York, then traveled to France and Italy. After returning from Europe, Adams was not certain of what course to take so he followed Dasburg to New Mexico in 1924. The older artists in the Taos community took to him right away so that by 1926 he became the final, and youngest, artist to join the Taos Society of Artists.

John Ward Lockwood (1894-1963), who like Adams was from Kansas, studied art at the University of Kansas, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts as well as in Paris. In 1926, Lockwood found himself in the same position occupied by Adams two years earlier of being at loose ends. At Adams' urging he moved to Taos where he met Dasburg. Like Dasburg, his early landscapes were influenced by Cézanne so the two of them had much in common. As with Adams before him, he found in Dasburg his greatest art mentor. He would continue to be known as a Taos artist even after he left New Mexico.

The three artists became close friends and were often together over the next decade. The connections between Adams and Lockwood were particularly striking. Both men had served in the armed forces during World War I, Lockwood in Europe, Adams in the States. They did not meet, however, until after the war when, in 1921, both were art students in France. They traveled and painted together for some months before going their separate ways. When Lockwood moved to Taos they became even closer through their mutual admiration for Dasburg, It was not just art that the three of them had in common, but also fishing. The lure of mountain trout streams and the Rio Grande often drew them away from their studios.

In the 1930s, Lockwood and Adams were both hired as visiting teachers at the Broadmore Art Academy in Colorado Springs. All three received mural commissions at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. The Federal Art Project provided additional mural commissions to Adams and Lockwood during the Great Depression. Around the same time both artists learned lithography, a medium that gained much popularity among artists in the 1930s. Both would serve as president of the Harwood Foundation board and all three served on the Harwood's art committee at various times. The Depression era created difficult economic times for each. In 1938, the two younger ones left Taos for university teaching positions, Lockwood to the University of Texas at Austin, and Adams to Albuquerque and the University of New Mexico. Dasburg quit painting when in 1937 he was diagnosed with Addison's disease. He would not recover for nearly a decade.

Both Adams and Lockwood would continue as university professors for most of the rest of their lives. Upon retirement, each lived for about two more years, succumbing in their sixties. Both maintained their ties to Taos, sometimes returning to teach during the summer. They continued corresponding with Dasburg even when away; Dasburg lived longest, dying at the age of ninety-one. However, in their letters to Dasburg, neither Adams nor Lockwood mentioned the other. Before leaving Taos, they had a major falling out which at one point degenerated into a fist fight broken up by Taos artist Emil Bisttram, former boxer. Just why their friendship ended is not clear, but it was important loss to all three.

Included in this exhibition is a selection of paintings, prints, and drawings by each of them showing the range of their work over much of their respective careers. Of the three, Dasburg has garnered the most acclaim, but they all received awards and had important shows at museums. Dasburg has been the subject of two books, Lockwood the subject of one, with Adams included in all the books about the Taos Society of Artists. All three have been written about in exhibition catalogs for one-person and group shows. While not revolutionaries, all three (but most especially, Dasburg) were in touch with the prevailing modernity of the art world in their time. They took a different approach to depicting the landscape and peoples of New Mexico than the more conservative members of the Taos Society of Artists and, along the way, forged their own story of art in Taos.


About David L.Witt

David L. Witt is a writer, curator, and organizational leader whose credits include twice winning the Border Regional Library Association Southwest Book Award for Spirit Ascendant: The Art and Life of Patrociñio Barela and for Taos Moderns: Art of the New. He is also author of and contributor to other books and writer of dozens of articles and essays. He established the New Mexico Art History Conference and the Southwest Art History Council (a professional organization of art historians) and is a past president of the New Mexico Association of Museums. During more than twenty years as curator of the Harwood Museum of the University of New Mexico, he has organized scores of exhibitions and developed a major art historical and photo archive. He is a recognized authority on the art history of New Mexico and the Southwest as well as a specialist in museum and art institution operations. He first visited New Mexico in 1969 and first came to Taos in 1972 where he currently resides.

Readers may also enjoy stories on the Taos Society of Artists and the Santa Fe Colony of Artists. AskArt.com has facts on over 100 Taos artists before 1940.

rev. 12/11/00

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