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Photography, Prints and Drawings Learn More

Small works on paper often do well in an intimate setting such as the Harwood's gallery for Prints, Drawings and Photographs where the Museum presents changing exhibitions from the permanent collection as well as exhibitions of work on loan.

Drawing and printmaking have had a long and distinguished history in the Taos community. The Museum collection includes important examples by some of the earlier artists including Howard Cook, Joseph Imhof, who brought the first lithography press to Taos, Gene Kloss, Nicolai Fechin, and Walter Ufer.

The post World War II period of the Taos Moderns is represented by the works of Tom Benrimo, Andrew Dasburg, Earl Stroh, and Louis Ribak, while drawings and prints by Larry Calcagno, R.C. Ellis, Ken Price, Joe Waldrum, Vija Celmins, Wes Mills, and Bill Gersh document the work of more recent artists.

Artist: Thomas Benrimo
Title: The City
Date: n.d.
Medium: Ink on paper
Dimensions: Overall: 14 15/16 x 21 5/8 in. (38 x 55 cm)
Thomas Benrimo United States (1887-1958)
THOMAS BENRIMO (1887-1958), moved to Taos in 1939.

The flowing quality of design which Tom Benrimo subtly employs suggests a penetrating musical quality.

—Allen S. Weller, 1952

In an art community known for its reclusive artists, Thomas Benrimo stood out by his absence from the art scene in his early Taos years. He lived in Taos for over twelve years before sharing his work with the public for the first time in a group exhibition at the Hotel La Fonda in 1951.

Benrimo moved to Taos in 1939 on the strength of winning the Art Director Medal for Color Illustration award, an honor that included a $5,000 prize. He left New York’s Pratt Institute, where he had taught such courses as “Applied Surrealism” for commercial artists. A painter whose roots went back to the early days of American modernism, he now had the means to make the transition back into fine art, which he had abandoned in order to support his tubercular mother and brother.

His first artistic project in Taos, done in partnership with his wife, Dorothy Benrimo, a fine jeweler, was converting an old adobe ruin into a stately home. In his early Taos paintings, he attempted to regain the position that he had staked out more than 20 years earlier in New York. Little of his work from that period remains, but it is clear that the 1913 Armory Show deeply impressed him; he painted abstractions by 1918, if not before.

His Taos work included subject matter suggested by ancient Roman and Etruscan art and Greek vase painting, and also influenced by cubism. His facility for painting detail exceeded that of most artists, and his studies of modernist painting during his teaching career made him one of the best informed artists in the country. His teaching notes reveal a brilliant mind which welded together the many currents of modernism to make them understandable to his students. Benrimo's reputation was such that László Moholy-Nagy, an artist and founder of the New Bauhaus art school in Chicago, invited him to become the school’s director in the 1940s. But, by that time Benrimo had decided to devote the remainder of his life to painting.

During the war years, he concentrated on finely crafted surrealistic paintings. In the 1950s, Benrimo combined surrealism and strong structural form with lyrically tragic and passionate themes, as seen in late work such as White Moon #2 (ca. 1954).
Benrimo's work achieved national exposure when one of his paintings was included in the 1951 “Contemporary American Painting and Sculpture” exhibition at the University of Illinois. Asked to comment on his work for the catalog, he said (quoting author Charles Norman): “Feeling and form are all; and that man is most an artist who fuses those two into an indivisible one.”

Edited excerpt from David L. Witt, Taos Moderns: Art of the New (1992)
n.d.
Thomas Benrimo
Artist: Kenneth Adams
Title: The Miner
Date: 1950
Medium: print reproductions
Dimensions: Overall: 16 1/8 x 11 13/16 in. (41 x 30 cm) mat: 20 1/16 x 16 in. (51 x 40.6 cm)
Kenneth Adams United States (1897-1966)
http://kennethadamspaintings.com/

1950
Kenneth Adams
Title: The Pecos Mission
Date: 1997
Medium: Palladium print photo
Dimensions: Overall: 10 1/2 in. x 20 in.
1997
Artist: Joseph Imhof
Title: The Sage Philosopher
Date: c. 1930
Medium: print lithograph
Dimensions: Overall: 20 7/8 x 15 5/8 in. (53 x 39.7 cm)
Joseph Imhof United States (1871 - 1955)
Joseph Imhoff was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1871. His first exposure to art was at age six when his godfather gifted him with a box of watercolors. Upon graduation, his father refused him further education unless he became a priest. Rejecting his father's wishes, he started teaching himself lithography and was hired by Currier & Ives. He eventually earned enough money from this job to buy a bookstore. In 1991 he eventually quit his job and sold the bookstore to pursue a formal art education in Europe. Traveling and painting for four years in Paris, Brussels, Antwerp and Munich he apprenticed with several artists.

But perhaps the most important experience he had in Europe was to meet Buffalo Bill Cody on board the ship and join him in Antwerp to spend time sketching and painting various members of the "Wild West Show". This experience set in place a style of painting for the rest of his life which focused on ethnographic and anthropological data rather than artistic expression. He documented the religious ceremonies of Pueblo Indians in large, rather simplified oils. He also learned new techniques for lithography which had a long-term influence on his artwork.

When he returned to New York, he rented a studio in Flatbush and began to study the Iroquois Indians in New York and Canada. He spent the next ten years painting and improving his lithography, photography and color printing innovations - which financed his early painting career. He also freelanced for Allen and Ginter, painting his Indian Head Series for insertion on cards in boxes of cigarettes.

In 1897 Joseph married Sarah Ann Elizabeth Russell, and they traveled to Europe several times until 1905 when they visited the Southwest for the first time to record the ceremonies of the Pueblo Indians. Joseph and built a studio in Albuquerque in 1906, and spent much time in the next few years traveling around the region.

In 1929 Joseph and Sarah moved to Taos permanently and built their new home facing the sacred mountain behind the Taos Pueblo. Their neighbor for some twenty years, Mabel Dodge Lujan, was known to refer to him as, "The Grand Old Man of the Pueblos". He would ask native models to live in his home for a time before he painted them. He felt he needed to know the person's soul that the eyes revealed in order to paint an accurate likeness. He collected many Indian artifacts and also had the first lithography press in Taos, which he used to make ethnographic prints and teach his techniques of recording the region's history. His series of paintings called Kivas and Corn which he gifted to the University of New Mexico was his most famous work. The Koshare Indian Museum also houses one of the largest collections of his paintings.

Joseph Imhof died in 1955 leaving an important legacy of the American Southwest. His wife Sarah in later years said of her husband, "...a gentle, dignified man who loathed the publicity and the limelight that other artists seemed to seek; he avoided publicity at all times..."

http://www.josephimhoffpaintings.com/
c. 1930
Joseph Imhof
Artist: Kenneth Adams
Title: The Spring
Date: 1950
Medium: print reproductions
Dimensions: Overall: 16 1/8 x 11 13/16 in. (41 x 30 cm) mat: 20 x 16 1/8 in. (50.8 x 41 cm)
Kenneth Adams United States (1897-1966)
http://kennethadamspaintings.com/

1950
Kenneth Adams
Artist: William Davis
Title: Theatre of Shadows (from Recuerdos)
Date: 2000 (printed 2001)
Medium: silver print
Dimensions: 13 3/8" H x 17 3/4" W
William Davis
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Davis_(photographer)
2000 (printed 2001)
William Davis
Title: Three Rocks, City of Rocks, NM
Date: 1989
Medium: Palladium print photo
Dimensions: Overall: 14 3/4 in. x 18 1/2 in.
1989
Artist: Barbara Harmon
Title: Tranquility (No. 1)
Date: c. 1964
Medium: Pastel on paper
Dimensions: Overall: 13 3/8 x 24 in. (34 x 61 cm)
Barbara Harmon (b.1927)
c. 1964
Barbara Harmon
Title: Tres Tecolotes
Date: 1988
Medium: Palladium print photo
Dimensions: piece: 22 × 25 1/2 in. (55.9 × 64.8 cm) image (mat): 17 × 20 1/2 in. (43.2 × 52.1 cm) image (support): 26 × 30 in. (66 × 76.2 cm)
1988
Artist: Joseph Imhof
Title: Untitled
Date: c. 1930
Medium: Lithograph
Dimensions: Overall: 16 9/16 x 11 13/16 in. (42 x 30 cm)
Joseph Imhof United States (1871 - 1955)
Joseph Imhoff was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1871. His first exposure to art was at age six when his godfather gifted him with a box of watercolors. Upon graduation, his father refused him further education unless he became a priest. Rejecting his father's wishes, he started teaching himself lithography and was hired by Currier & Ives. He eventually earned enough money from this job to buy a bookstore. In 1991 he eventually quit his job and sold the bookstore to pursue a formal art education in Europe. Traveling and painting for four years in Paris, Brussels, Antwerp and Munich he apprenticed with several artists.

But perhaps the most important experience he had in Europe was to meet Buffalo Bill Cody on board the ship and join him in Antwerp to spend time sketching and painting various members of the "Wild West Show". This experience set in place a style of painting for the rest of his life which focused on ethnographic and anthropological data rather than artistic expression. He documented the religious ceremonies of Pueblo Indians in large, rather simplified oils. He also learned new techniques for lithography which had a long-term influence on his artwork.

When he returned to New York, he rented a studio in Flatbush and began to study the Iroquois Indians in New York and Canada. He spent the next ten years painting and improving his lithography, photography and color printing innovations - which financed his early painting career. He also freelanced for Allen and Ginter, painting his Indian Head Series for insertion on cards in boxes of cigarettes.

In 1897 Joseph married Sarah Ann Elizabeth Russell, and they traveled to Europe several times until 1905 when they visited the Southwest for the first time to record the ceremonies of the Pueblo Indians. Joseph and built a studio in Albuquerque in 1906, and spent much time in the next few years traveling around the region.

In 1929 Joseph and Sarah moved to Taos permanently and built their new home facing the sacred mountain behind the Taos Pueblo. Their neighbor for some twenty years, Mabel Dodge Lujan, was known to refer to him as, "The Grand Old Man of the Pueblos". He would ask native models to live in his home for a time before he painted them. He felt he needed to know the person's soul that the eyes revealed in order to paint an accurate likeness. He collected many Indian artifacts and also had the first lithography press in Taos, which he used to make ethnographic prints and teach his techniques of recording the region's history. His series of paintings called Kivas and Corn which he gifted to the University of New Mexico was his most famous work. The Koshare Indian Museum also houses one of the largest collections of his paintings.

Joseph Imhof died in 1955 leaving an important legacy of the American Southwest. His wife Sarah in later years said of her husband, "...a gentle, dignified man who loathed the publicity and the limelight that other artists seemed to seek; he avoided publicity at all times..."

http://www.josephimhoffpaintings.com/
c. 1930
Joseph Imhof
Artist: Louis Ribak
Title: Untitled
Date: c. 1960
Medium: Ink on paper
Dimensions: Overall: 14 1/8 x 10 3/16 in. (35.9 x 25.8 cm) frame: 20 3/4 x 15 3/4 in. (52.7 x 40 cm)
Louis Ribak (1903-1979)
LOUIS RIBAK (1903-1979), moved to Taos in 1944.

In his first show in eight years [Louis Ribak] reports from Mexico and the Southwest with added strength and color. There is new freedom with emphasis on forms as such rather than on objects ...

—New York Times, May 1954

Beginning with work that was included in the 1934 Venice Biennale and continuing with his social realist painting of the 1930s, Louis Ribak captured vibrant images of urban life with considerable power. He was making an important career when, in 1944, he abandoned New York for Taos with his wife, Beatrice Mandelman. Various reasons have been suggested for the move: Ribak’s health; John Sloan's suggestion that the couple move to New Mexico; and their general disenchantment with New York. All these were probably contributing factors, but, since there was a good deal of wanderlust in Ribak, perhaps he just needed a change. As curator Harry Rand observed in the catalog of a 1984 exhibition of Ribak’s late paintings,

Something entirely unsuspected gripped Ribak in the Southwest and he was never able to disenthrall himself from the heady solemnity of the landscape, its beauty or emotive potential.

Ribak's approach shifted from social realism to full abstraction during his Taos years. Much of his early Taos work consists of semi-abstract landscapes, artistically descended from the paintings of American artist Albert P. Ryder. In Ryders’ work there is a living aspect to the environment in which humankind is not isolated, but is instead an intimate part. Ribak seems to have brought this concept with him from New York but, under the powerful influence of contact with New Mexico's pueblos, it was dramatically reinforced, expanded, and adapted to the changed circumstances of his life. He had to change to meet the demands of the new environment. Mandelman later said, “We had to start all over again. We spent the first couple of years painting the landscape” as a means of coming to understand the West.

Highly respected by his peers, Ribak was looked up to by the Taos Moderns as “an elder compadre,” a role model. In 1947, he opened the Taos Valley Art School for returning veterans who used their GI Bill benefits to pay tuition and living expenses. In addition to attracting beginners, mature artists who needed no training used the stipend to enable them to continue painting and drawing. Ribak, like Andrew Dasburg, offered no ideology to his students: “I’m not truly anything. I’m against everything. Damned abstract[ionist]s, realists, illustrators …” He condemned taking any single approach—he believed this would lead to academicism, an art of deadness, whether abstract or representational.

Ribak was well-acquainted with the work of the abstract expressionists and knew artists of the New York School. In the mid-1950s, Mandelman and Ribak sojourned in New York, then returned to Taos. From that time, Ribak developed the lyrical abstract expressionism that would occupy much of his subsequent career. Movement No. 1 and Movement No. 2 are examples. The flowing calligraphy evident in much of his work developed from decades of landscape drawings. His abstract paintings seem not to have come from cubism so much as out of his own preoccupation with working directly from nature.

Edited excerpt from David L. Witt, Taos Moderns: Art of the New (1992).
c. 1960
Louis Ribak