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The 1940s was an important transition period for the Taos art community. A group of modernist artists arrived who would set a new artistic course for a generation. Following World War II, Taos became an important crossroads in contemporary American art, a place where the influences of European and American modernism came together. Artists from New York and San Francisco, the cradles of post-war abstract painting, found in Taos a conducive place to work devoid of the distractions of the big cities. Many of the modernist artists arrived in Taos with little if any knowledge of the earlier artists, as if inexplicably drawn to the Town's inherently creative atmosphere. Many came to study under the G.I. bill.

Joining Andrew Dasburg as mentor to these new artists in 1939 was Thomas Benrimo, another early American modernist. New York artist Louis Ribak arrived in Taos in 1944 with his wife, painter Beatrice Mandelman, and emerged as a leader of the younger generation. Agnes Martin, now an internationally acclaimed artist came to Taos a few years later as a student with the University of New Mexico's summer Field School of Art. In the early 1950s, Clay Spohn, an abstract expressionist, and Edward Corbett, an artist with a growing reputation as a modernist, arrived from San Francisco. Their colleague, Richard Diebenkorn, although not a Taos resident, showed at the Town's premier art gallery, Galeria Escondida, as well as the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque where he received a Masters Degree in Art in 1951. In the same way that the Taos Art Colony in earlier decades attracted other artists to the area, these new artists were visited by their friends and associates, including such major figures as Mark Rothko, Ad Reinhardt, Clyfford Still and Morris Graves.

The influx of dozens of artists by the 1950s had established Taos as one of the centers of modernist artistic activity in the United States. In the middle part of the decade, a number of them began showing together in art galleries and museums and were collectively known as the Taos Moderns. Although they never created a formal group such as the Taos Society of Artists had done, they changed the artistic direction of the community.

Their paintings were either abstract, using subject matter, or non-objective compositions of pure form. The stark New Mexico landscape brightened their palettes just as it had that of earlier artists. Cultural influences continued to be important as well. The timelessness they perceived in Pueblo Indian culture and the deep connection to the land they noted in the everyday life of both Indians and Hispanics influence experimentation and innovation in their own art.

If there was any one guiding philosophy during this period, it was a commitment by artists to seek 'the new' in their visual imagery. Many of them were not content with depicting the surface beauty of the landscape or the figurative portraits done by earlier artists. Instead, they wanted to capture the underlying structure of a subject to reveal its true meaning.

TitleSorted AscendingDateArtistClassificationDimensions
Brown Landscape Imagesn.d.Clay Spohn
Clay Spohn (1898-1977)
painting Overall: 20 3/8 x 26 7/8 in. (51.8 x 68.2 cm) frame: 22 1/2 x 28 7/8 in. (57.2 x 73.3 cm)
Harwood House1918Gustave Baumann (1881-1971)
Gustave Baumann (1881-1971)
Gustave Baumann was born in Magdeburg, Germany, in 1881. Ten years later, along with his family, Baumann relocated to the United States, eventually settling in Chicago. Displaying a natural aptitude for the arts, he worked as a commercial engraver while putting himself through night school at the Art Institute of Chicago - before returning to Germany in 1904 to study wood block printing at the Kunstgewerbeschule ("School of Arts and Crafts") in Munich. Upon his return to the United States, Baumann received international acclaim when one of his color woodcuts won the gold medal at the Pan-Pacific International Exhibition (1915) in San Francisco. Three years later, in 1918, Baumann settled in Santa Fe, quickly emerging as a leading artistic figure of the American Southwest. He is generally credited with the revival of color wood block printing in the 20th century, and was hand-picked as Area Coordinator for the Works Progress Administration's Public Works of Art Project in the 1930's. http://www.gustavebaumann.net/Gustave_Baumann_Biography_Page.htm
drawing Overall: 10 5/8 x 9 13/16 in. (27 x 25 cm)
Rio Grande River, New Mexico1919Marsden Hartley
Marsden Hartley (1877-1943)
drawing support: 17 1/2 x 27 3/4 in. (44.5 x 70.5 cm) frame: 25 3/16 x 35 1/2 x 1 3/4 in. (64 x 90.2 x 4.5 cm)
Death Cartc. 1931-35Patrociño Barela
Patrociño Barela United States (United States, 1900 - 1964)
Patrociño Barela worked most of his life as a wood carver in Taos, New Mexico. As a santero (an artist who creates sacred images), Barela is recognized by New Mexico's living artists as a major source of inspiration. His carvings are not only expressive of the rich Hispano heritage within which he created, but artistically his works display parallels to Romanesque art, Modern art, as well as to the primitive art of other world cultures. http://www.laplaza.org/art/barela/
sculpture 40 9/16 × 32 5/16 × 44 in. (103 × 82 × 111.8 cm)
Our Studio - Harwood1927-1928Howard Cook
Howard Cook United States (1901 - 1980)
drawing Overall: 8 15/16 x 12 9/16 in. (22.7 x 31.9 cm) frame: 14 1/4 x 18 1/4 in. (36.2 x 46.4 cm)
Taos Canyon1930John Marin
John Marin (1870-1953)
painting 15 9/16 x 20 1/2 in. (39.5 x 52 cm) Framed: 21 3/4 × 27 × 1 3/8 in. (55.2 × 68.6 × 3.5 cm)
Decoration Dayc.1940Barbara Latham
Barbara Latham United States (1896 - 1989)
“I had lived under the brilliant western sky all summer, but I had never experienced such brilliance, contrasted with such fragrant desert. … I loved Taos from the moment I stepped off the train.” "I’ve been very happy here." "And I’m still having fun with my art."

Known as an accomplished painter, printmaker, and children’s book illustrator, Barbara Latham had idea of her life’s creative trajectory from an early age. At eight years old Barbara Latham won a scholarship to attend a weekend drawing class, and it sparked the young girl’s innate love of art. Shortly after high school, Latham began her more serious artistic studies at the Norwich Academy and Pratt Institute in New York City, as well as summer workshops with Anderw Dasburg at the Students League Summer School in Woodstock, New York. After a corporate stint on Madison Avenue making greeting cards, Latham relocated to the art colony of Taos, New Mexico.

It was in Taos that Latham would meet her eventual husband and fellow artist, Howard Cook. The two were introduced through Victor Higgins, and enjoyed a nurturing partnership spanning more than fifty years. The two traveled extensively through South America, Mexico, and Europe, largely the result of Cook’s Guggenheim Fellowship awards in 1932, and again in 1934. It was from these new, exotic vistas that the couple gathered unfamiliar subject matter and expanded their techniques. Much of what went into Latham’s first children’s book, “Pedro, Nina, and Perrito,” was cultivated during these travels.

In 1938, Latham and her husband purchased a home in Talpa, New Mexico. It was to become the base for a prolific artistic output, featuring everything from playful community scenes to wildlife, and landscapes in her signature stop-action style. Some of Latham’s most notable works include: “View from Our House in Talpa,” “Decoration Day,” “Tourist Town, Taos,” “Getting Ready for the Rabbit Hunt,” and “Rio Grande in the Spring.”

In 1967 the couple lived seasonally in Roswell, New Mexico, after Cook was awarded with the first artist-in-residence at the newly conceived Roswell Museum. By 1976, Howard Cook’s health was failing to the point where the couple relocated once more to a retirement home in Santa Fe. After her husband’s passing in 1980, Latham continued to travel and paint until her own passing in 1989.

https://sites.google.com/site/parsonsartists/home/barbara-latham
painting 24 x 29 15/16 in. (61 x 76 cm) Framed: 29 1/4 × 35 1/4 × 1 1/4 in. (74.3 × 89.5 × 3.2 cm)
Bulto- Hope or the Four stages of Manc.1940Patrociño Barela
Patrociño Barela United States (United States, 1900 - 1964)
Patrociño Barela worked most of his life as a wood carver in Taos, New Mexico. As a santero (an artist who creates sacred images), Barela is recognized by New Mexico's living artists as a major source of inspiration. His carvings are not only expressive of the rich Hispano heritage within which he created, but artistically his works display parallels to Romanesque art, Modern art, as well as to the primitive art of other world cultures. http://www.laplaza.org/art/barela/
sculpture Overall: 16 1/8 x 7 1/16 in. (41 x 18 cm)
Bultoc.1940Patrociño Barela
Patrociño Barela United States (United States, 1900 - 1964)
Patrociño Barela worked most of his life as a wood carver in Taos, New Mexico. As a santero (an artist who creates sacred images), Barela is recognized by New Mexico's living artists as a major source of inspiration. His carvings are not only expressive of the rich Hispano heritage within which he created, but artistically his works display parallels to Romanesque art, Modern art, as well as to the primitive art of other world cultures. http://www.laplaza.org/art/barela/
sculpture Overall: 27 3/16 x 17 11/16 in. (69 x 45 cm)
Twining (formerly Taos Mountain)c. 1944Beatrice Mandelman
Beatrice Mandelman (1912 - 1998)
Born on December 31, 1912 in Newark, New Jersey, from an early age Beatrice Mandelman was determined to be an artist. At age 12, she began taking classes at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art. In the 1930s, she attended Rutgers University, the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art and the Art Students League in New York City.

http://www.mandelman-ribak.org/beatrice_mandelman/biography.php
painting 15 x 20 in. (38.1 x 50.8 cm) Framed: 24 5/8 × 35 × 1 1/2 in. (62.5 × 88.9 × 3.8 cm)