| Portrait of The Honorable Dorothy Brett||1956||Robert D. Ray|
Robert D. Ray
(1924 - 2002)
Dates in Taos: 1954
||Overall: 60 1/4 x 31 7/8 in. (153 x 81 cm)
frame: 61 x 32 1/2 in. (154.9 x 82.6 cm)|
| Portrait of Bea Mandelman||c. 1944||Louis Ribak|
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).
||Overall: 29 x 24 1/2 in. (73.7 x 62.2 cm)|
| Personages||1952||Agnes Martin||
||10 × 13 in. (25.4 × 33 cm)|
| Paiseja||1950||Robert C. Ellis|
Robert C. Ellis
Born in Jackson, Texas, R.C. Ellis first began studying art through The University of New Mexico, Taos Summer Field School in 1942, where he met Andrew Dasburg whom he admired greatly. Ellis would have moved to Taos earlier if it had not been for WWII, and his service through the Coast Guard. After the war he returned to studying art at the New School of Social Research in New York in 1949, where he studied Abraham Rattner and Adja Yunkers (later one of the Albuquerque moderns). He would return to New Mexico the following year to study at the University of New Mexico and eventually obtaining his BFA in 1950. Most importantly to Ellis, between 1947 and 1953, he lived intermittently with the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Sierra Madre whose art he greatly admired. His ties to Mexico, which were as strong as those he felt for the Southwest, became even stronger with his 1957 marriage to Rosamaria Ramirez de Alba, a Mexican citizen. He was the only artist among the Taos Moderns to pursue his career in two countries showing his work on both sides of the border. He returned to Taos in 1961 as a resident of the Wurlitzer Foundation and again briefly in 1964, before finally settling in Taos in 1965.
His paintings from the 1940’s onward moved through Cubist and Abstract Expressionist influenced periods. In the 1950’s his interest in the nature of luminosity led him to try for a kind of stained glass effect. In later works he mosved to a more minimalist – type artwork in both his painting and print making.
His first solo exhibition was at Gump’s Gallery in San Francisco California in 1942 and from there is work was exhibited in Washington D.C., Tucson Arizona, Santa Fe NM, Albuquerque NM, Linsborg KS, Amarillo TX, The Panhandle Museum in Carson County TX, The Ellen Noel Art Museum of the Permain Basin, Odessa TX, and at the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos. He exhibited internationally in several galleried in Mexico, as well as at the Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno in Mexico City in 1964.
Ellis applied what he saw in the landscape, interpreting the lessons garnedred from his observations to create his compositions. Particularly by the time of his late work, he captured in paint, ink and other mediums the paradox of the desert, a surface that at first appears simple, but only because it’s true complexity is so well integrated into a flow of light and form. R.C. Ellis died in Albuquerque New Mexico in 1979.
Artist Biography.2015.203 Fine Art http://www.203fineart.com/Robert_C_Ellis.html
||Overall: 15 3/16 x 30 1/2 in. (38.5 x 77.5 cm)|
| Our Studio - Harwood||1927-1928||Howard Cook|
(1901 - 1980)
||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)|
| Nude||1947||Agnes Martin||
||canvas: 20 × 16 × 3/4 in. (50.8 × 40.6 × 1.9 cm)
Framed: 27 5/8 × 23 5/8 × 1 3/4 in. (70.2 × 60 × 4.4 cm)|
| Night Phenomena||1954||Lawrence Calcagno|
Lawrence Calcagno was born on March 23, 1913 in San Francisco, and passed away at the age of 80, in 1993. He began painting at the age of 19, and continued to use the medium throughout his life to describe the world around him. After serving in WW11, he painted in Paris under the G.I. Bill.
Calcagno began to show in San Francisco and New York as part of the second generation of Abstract Expressionist painters. His style ranges from meditative linear abstract landscapes to free-form abstract expressionism. http://www.askart.com/artist/Lawrence_Calcagno/85649/Lawrence_Calcagno.aspx
||Overall: 41 15/16 x 59 15/16 x 16 1/2 in. (106.5 x 152.2 x 41.9 cm)|
| Night Image||c.1963||Louis Catusco|
A Navy veteran from World War II, Louis Catusco used his GI Bill benefits to study art at the Brooklyn Museum Art School in the 1940's. Of all the mystics, poets, eccentrics and visionaries among the Taos Moderns, Louis is the most enigmatic. In 1950 he came to Taos to work with Louis Ribak at the Taos Valley Art School, settling here permanently in 1963. After winning many awards, both local and state, Louis dropped out of the Taos art scene to continue his work in solitude. http://www.askart.com/artist/artist/11093175/artist.aspx
||Overall: 14 in. (35.6 cm)|
| Mystery of Symbols - or Secrets of Isis||1952||Clay Spohn||
||Overall: 26 3/16 x 31 7/8 in. (66.5 x 81 cm)|
| Mountain Moods||1954||Ted Egri||
||Overall: 23 11/16 x 30 1/8 in. (60.1 x 76.5 cm)
frame: 36 x 30 in. (91.4 x 76.2 cm)|