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West by Southwest from the Collection of the Museum of the Southwest and Joseph Henry Sharp: From the Big Sky to the Land of Enchantment


The C.M. Russell Museum presents West by Southwest, an exhibition featuring paintings, prints, and bronze sculpture from the Collections of the Museum of the Southwest in Midland, Texas. This exhibition is a broad-brushed survey of western life that embraces sunlit mountain landscapes, Native American subjects, and still-life objects, which embody some of the more conventional views of the American west. West by Southwest opens with canvases by nineteenth century artists Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Hill, who captured the natural wonders and the monumental vastness of the West.

An overall focus of the exhibition centers on artists of the earlier twentieth century associated with the art colony in Taos, New Mexico. The colony had its roots in the summer of 1898, when two artists, Ernest Blumenschein and Bert Phillips, suffered a broken wagon axle in the mountains of New Mexico. They found a blacksmith in the little town ofTaos, some 20 miles away. Stirred by the superb beauty and serenity of the area, Blumenschein and Phillips felt they were seeing nature for the first time. By 1915, Taos had attracted many artists and in this year a number of them formed the Taos Society of Artists, an organization thatwould last until 1926. As with many art groups, the Society's primary purpose was to generate greater exposure for their members, not only in New Mexico, but also throughout the United States. (left: Freemont Ellis, Pueblo, c. 1928, oil on canvas, Gift of Mrs. Harvey H. Conger, Museum of the Southwest)

Artists in the Taos Society were not native westerners, but men who had been born and trained in the eastern United States, studying art there as well as in Europe. They discovered in Taos not only sublime landscape, but also Native American and Hispanic cultures and rural cowboy life.

Included in the collection of The Museum of the Southwest is art which was created in the Southwest or reflects the Southwest in subject matter or style. Forming the nucleus of the Museum's collection is a group of paintings by the Taos Society of Artists. This group of artists found inspiration in the mountainous landscape and nativecultures of New Mexico. Included are important works by:Ernest Blumenschein, Oscar Berninghaus, Joseph Henry Sharp, E. Irving Couse, Martin Hennings, Bert Phillips, Victor Higgins, W. Herbert Dunton, Walter Ufer, Julius Roishoven, and Kenneth Adams. The Southwestern theme is further highlighted by a large group of works by the artists of Santa Fe including Clark Hulings, Fremont Ellis, Randell Davey, Peter Rogers, Wilson Hurley, Fritz Scholder, and Woody Gwyn. Still other works represent a broader Western sensibility including works by Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Hill, and Gilbert Gaul.

Other artists in the exhibition, perhaps the most widely known being Gene Kioss and Peter Hurd, worked in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As at Taos, the Santa Fe artists took a variety of approaches in their expression of historic as well as contemporary themes.

The paintings and sculpture donated by Fred T. and Novadean Hogan of Midland, Texas, form the heart of this collection. Soon after their marriage on September 6, 1937, the Hogans started an oil company and began a love affair with art that continued more than 56 years. The Hogans collected what they liked and the collection shows their interests -- their focus upon quality and beauty.

Local presentation is made possible with support from L'Heureux Page Werner, P.C., Architects and Engineers, the Browning-Kimball Foundation and the Charles M. Bair Family Trust.


Joseph Henry Sharp: From the Big Sky to the Land of Enchantment


Organized by the C.M. Russell Museum, Joseph Henry Sharp: From the Big Sky to the Land of Enchantment is drawn entirely from one Montana family's personal and private collection. This exhibition illuminates the most prolific periods in the career of Joseph Henry Sharp (1859-1953) or "Uncle Henry" as he was known to the family.

In the spring of 1883, the artist set off on his first journey west. He traveled and sketched in New Mexico, California, and the Northwest. In 1901, Joseph Henry Sharp built a log studio in Montana near the battlefield where Custer fought and was commissioned to make a visual record of Indians who had fought against Custer. Between the years of 1902 and 1910, the artist's response was over 200 portraits from live models and more than 400 photographs, as well as intimate paintings of the Montana landscape near his home. (left: Joseph Henry Sharp, Sweat Teepee, no date, oil on canvas, Private Collection)

He finally moved to Taos permanently in 1912, and started a campaign to get other artists to join him. Known as the father of the Taos Art Society since its inception in 1915, Joseph Henry Sharp was a painter, friend, illustrator, and teacher whose love affair with Montana, the American Indian, and the American southwestern landscape was vividly expressed in his art.

The two exhibitions, West by Southwest from the Collection of the Museum of the Southwest and Joseph Henry Sharp: From the Big Sky to the Land of Enchantment are on view at the C.M. Russell Museum from July 11 through September 7, 2003.


Editor's Note: For Southwest art history, enjoy articles and essays on Southwestern Colonial Art, the Taos Society of Artists and the Santa Fe colony of artists. AskArt.com has facts on over 100 Taos artists before 1940. Artcyclopedia has links on more than 40 artists specializing in the American West. See the Desert Caballeros Western Museum's presentation on Art of the American West. AskArt.com has a lsit of notable Western genre painters.

Please Note: RLM does not endorse sites behind external links. We offer them for your additional research; external links were chosen on the basis of being the most informative online source at the time of our search.


Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the C. M. Russell Museum in Resource Library Magazine.

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

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