78
78

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Oscar Edmund Berninghaus
CROWD AT HORSE RACE–TAOS, N. MEX
Estimate
600,000800,000
LOT SOLD. 495,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
78

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Oscar Edmund Berninghaus
CROWD AT HORSE RACE–TAOS, N. MEX
Estimate
600,000800,000
LOT SOLD. 495,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

American Art

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New York

Oscar Edmund Berninghaus
1874 - 1952
CROWD AT HORSE RACE–TAOS, N. MEX
signed O.E. Berninghaus (lower right); also signed O.E. Berninghaus/Taos. N. Mex. and titled "Crowd at Horse Race-Taos, N. Mex."/(During San Geronimo Festivities in September, each year) (on a label affixed to the reverse)
oil on canvas
30 1/2 by 34 inches
(77.5 by 86.4 cm)
Painted in 1946. 
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This painting will be included in Kodner Gallery's Art Research Project on the artist Oscar Edmund Berninghaus 1874-1952.

Provenance

Paul Grafe, Santa Paula, California (acquired from the artist)
By descent to the present owner

Literature

Oscar Edmund Berninghaus, Oscar E. Berninghaus A.N.A. Paintings in the Collection of Mr. Paul Grafe Los Angeles, Taos, New Mexico, 1946, illustrated

Catalogue Note

Oscar Berninghaus dedicated his life to capturing the beauty of Taos, New Mexico. He was first introduced to the area in 1899 and returned regularly to sketch, eventually becoming a founding member of the Taos Society of Artists and relocating permanently from St. Louis. Berninghaus recalled the area fondly stating, “Since 1918 Taos has been my permanent home, having acquired a small adobe house and adding additions to it as the years rolled by.” He went on to say, “It is the southwest and I love it as in it I find my philosophy of life” (as quoted in Oscar E. Berninghaus, A.N.A. Paintings in the Collection of Mr. Paul Grafe, Los Angeles, n.p.).

Berninghaus, who initially trained as a commercial artist, found endless inspiration in the landscape and people of Taos, recording events and fleeting moments with a vivid, rich palette. In the present work, Crowd at Horse Race–Taos, Berninghaus remembered his inspiration specifically, stating that it was “the time of the Fiestas, late in September, a horse race is on the program and I, like many others, go to find it. On arriving there I become far more interested in the motely crowd made up of Indians from distant Pueblos and reservations, Mexican, tourists, townspeople and odd conveyances” (Ibid).

Berninghaus quickly captured this inspiring moment with small pencil sketches highlighted with crayon color and ‘mental notes.’ The finished work was later rendered in the artist’s studio, which was typical of paintings of this scale and complexity. Berninghaus recalled his process in the studio and noted that “As the work progressed color and pigment were applied more plastically until its final completion.  It is the method I employ on compositions of the nature. For variety I have a penchant for painting groups, mingling crowds and have painted many. This painting is an excellent example” (Ibid).

American Art

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New York