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Taos Municipal School Historic Collection

Artist: John DePuy
Title: Seascape
Date: 1959
Medium: monoprint
Dimensions: Overall: 19 x 21 3/4 in. (48.3 x 55.2 cm) Framed: 28 3/8 x 31 1/4 in. (72.1 x 79.4 cm)
John DePuy United States (b.1927)
John DePuy is an expressionist painter with degrees from Columbia and Oxford Universities. He studied with Morris Kantor and Vaslav Vytlacyl at the Art Student League and Hans Hoffman, Hoffman School. Painted with the Cobra Group in Paris. When DePuy first moved to Taos, still under the influence of his teacher, Hans Hofmann, he painted nonobjectively. Over time, Hofmann’s influence receded, but his advice to paint from remained. For DePuy, the influence on art in New Mexico was “mainly the land” and (as with Ribak) the inspiration Pueblo Indians provided in their connection with the land. In DePuy’s work, the purely surface qualities of the land are often eclipsed by the land’s sheer power. Subtle gradations of color on walls or in the sky or on limitless plains form a shifting, lively backdrop for suns which shimmer and rivers which slide away and mesas which stand darkly. DePuy wrote, “This land speaks of another time sense than our Western-European lineal time.” By this he refers to the Western concept whereby time proceeds from one definable moment directly to a later, equally definable moment. The land DePuy began painting by the mid-1950s exists within spatial time, where moments do not proceed to any destination but repeat endlessly in the regular cycle of days, years, millennia, always returning, circular rather than linear. As such, nature may contradict our expectations. In an untitled oil painting (ca. 1955), the artist presents a world which seems to have flipped upside down.
John DePuy
Artist: Charles H. Reynolds
Title: Sunshine Valley
Date: 1946
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Framed: 30 1/2 x 35 1/2 in. (77.5 x 90.2 cm)
Charles H. Reynolds (1902-1963)
Charles H. Reynolds
Artist: Phillip Moose
Title: Taos Pueblo
Date: n.d.
Medium: oil
Dimensions: Overall: 16 x 19 3/4 in. (40.6 x 50.2 cm) Framed: 19 1/4 x 23 1/4 in. (48.9 x 59.1 cm)
Phillip Moose (1921-2001)
Phillip Moose
Artist: Arthur J. Merrill
Title: Taos Street Scene
Date: n.d.
Medium: watercolor
Dimensions: Framed: 22 1/4 x 27 in. (56.5 x 68.6 cm)
Arthur J. Merrill (1885-1973)
Arthur J. Merrill
Artist: Martin Fischer
Title: The Big Top
Date: n.d.
Medium: oil
Dimensions: Overall: 24 x 32 in. (61 x 81.3 cm) Framed: 29 x 37 in. (73.7 x 94 cm)
Martin Fischer (1923-2004)
Martin Fischer
Artist: Earl Stroh
Title: The Country Kitchen
Date: 1948
Medium: pastel on paper
Dimensions: Overall: 14 1/2 x 19 1/2 in. (36.8 x 49.5 cm) Framed: 25 x 30 in. (63.5 x 76.2 cm)
Earl Stroh United States (1924-2005)
Buffalo, NY
Earl Stroh
Artist: Louise Ganthiers
Title: The Domes
Medium: encaustic on masonite panel
Dimensions: Overall: 36 x 27 in. (91.4 x 68.6 cm) Framed: 38 1/2 x 29 1/2 in. (97.8 x 74.9 cm)
Louise Ganthiers United States (1907-1982)
LOUISE GANTHIERS (1907-1982), moved to Taos in 1950.

From a study of these paintings it appears obvious that the artist is heading toward a completely non-objective type of painting … her work demonstrates how a serious painter holds the mental conception within the bounds of plastic color. 46

—Alfred Morang, 1952 [cite source]

Louise Ganthiers came to Taos with the hope of becoming an artist. An administrator in a textile business, she had a longstanding interest in art and studied with the figurative-fantasy artist Rufino Tamayo in New York. In Taos, she became familiar with the artistic concepts of Hans Hofmann, and applied the results of all her training to her work. 47 In a statement about her relationship to art, she said:

I don't paint with ease. I wish I were capable of the smashing directness of some of my contemporaries. Some of these sketches have that quality. In carrying them further will I move toward the lyric, the muted understatement of the beautiful and gentle? I have been struggling to reach further into the abstract to break up forms in new ways to fix a space dimension on the canvas that has not been my approach. Yet if I find that I am saying something that infers crassness or harshness I won’t be happy. I have tried to speak in different ways against tragedy, injustice and waste but my way is not that of harshness. 48 [cite source]

Ganthiers waged a struggle on both artistic and economic fronts. In the 1950s, she sold frozen custard to Taos tourists during the summer; she also went to San Francisco to find work and to show her paintings. There her paintings caught the attention of prominent art critic Alfred Frankenstein, who wrote several reviews of her work over the years. He may have seen the encaustic painting Buffalo Dancer (1954). There is an undeniable wildness to the figure which seems to be of another world. The dancer clearly has merged with the animal spirit. Frankenstein wrote:

Miss Ganthiers … is a painter who likes a rich, complex impasto, lays on her color most often with the palette knife, and brings off whatever she does with great skill and finely imaginative design. Her abstractions are excellent, but most striking of all are her pictures derived from the Indian dances she has seen in Taos, where she lives. Her big single figures are magnificently drawn, and her studies of group choreography handle the rhythms, the color, and the mysterious character of their subjects equally well … [It is refreshing] to see this theme handled by a creative artist who brings it genuine imagination, selectivity and power over the expressive values of paint. 49 [cite source]

Edited excerpt from David Witt, Taos Moderns (1992)
Louise Ganthiers