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E. Martin Hennings, Chamisa in Bloom

The Chamisa is a shrub-like plant that is native to western North America. In this painting you can see the Chamisa tipped with yellow blooms, looking up into the plant from the viewpoint of a small animal, like a rabbit. The Chamisa is arranged so the largest and fullest plant is on the left and the smallest of the Chamisa is on the right, drawing your eye across the canvas. To bring your eye upwards there is another platform with reddish bulbs on the ends of its thin branches that is arranged so the highest reaching branches are on the right to draw your eyes up and then back to the left. This second plant also brings your attention to the silhouette of the mountain range in the background, only a shade darker than the beautiful blue sky. - Maranda Nieman

E. Martin Hennings
Painter, printmaker. After graduating from high school, Hennings left his native Pennsgrove, New Jersey, for five years of study at the Art Institute of Chicago. His training continued with two years at the Royal Academy in Munich. Fellow art students in Munich included Walter Ufer and Victor Higgins. In 1914, at the outbreak of World War I, Hennings returned to Chicago, where he made his living as a muralist and commercial artist. At the urging of former Chicago mayor Carter Harrison, Hennings spent a few months in Taos in 1917. Four years later, he made Taos his permanent home, joining the Taos Society of Artists in 1924. Hennings’s favorite subject was the Indian, whom he often posed singly or in groups against a bright foliage curtain. His compositions, featuring stylized line, decorative patterns, and warm colors, won him twelve national prizes between 1916 and 1938.
Chamisa in Bloom, c. 1920
Oil painting
Overall: 30 x 36 1/4 in. (76.2 x 92 cm)
Gift of the Estate of Mary Mingenback