5 Stunning Paintings of the American Southwest

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The beautiful Southwestern town of Taos, New Mexico has long inspired artists to take up residency amidst its rolling hills and Pueblo Revival architecture. Artists like Ernest Leonard Blumenschein, began travelling to Taos to spend summers, and eventually relocated permanently. Blumenschein co-founded the Taos Society of Artists with a group of his peers, establishing the unassuming town as an artistic hub in the Southwestern United States. This group of five paintings, Property from a Private Collection, attest to the vibrancy of the region and of the school of painting that sprang up in its environs.  

American Art
14 November | New York

5 Stunning Paintings of the American Southwest

  • Ernest Leonard Blumenschein, Eagle Nest Lake, 1933. Estimate $300,000–500,000.
    Located 30 miles east of Taos at an elevation of 8,000 feet, Eagle Nest Lake served as the subject for at least five of Ernest Leonard Blumenschein’s canvases. He painted this work following a fishing trip to the lake in the fall of 1933 and it is one of the artist’s only works executed without a preliminary study. It was exhibited extensively during the artist’s lifetime, including in a World Tour of British Possessions sponsored by the Canadian Government that traveled to New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

  • Oscar Edmund Berninghaus, Crowd at Horse Race–Taos, N. Mex, 1946. Estimate $600,000–800,000.
    Oscar Edmund Berninghaus writes of his artistic goals, “Like an artist in music I want to convey through technique, rhythm, color, tone, emotion, the feeling of the composer. A painter is composer and artist in one.” In Crowd at Horse Race– Taos, N. Mex, he depicts a horse race held during the San Geronimo Festival, a celebration that takes place each year in late September. Berninghaus was particularly interested in capturing the diverse crowd, made up of townspeople, Native Americans, tourists and Mexicans, along with the Taos landscape.

  • Edgar Alwin Payne, Canyon de Chelly, 1941. Estimate $60,000–80,000.
    Executed in 1941, Canyon de Chelly is not only an exquisite example of Edgar Alwin Payne’s understanding of the Southwestern landscape but also a demonstration of his ability to transform this traditional subject with his distinctive style. The artist beautifully captures the towering rocks of the canyon and concentrates the figures to the foreground to emphasize the enormity of the landscape. Canyon de Chelly is located in northeastern Arizona within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation.

  • Maynard Dixon, Canyon Ranch, 1941. Estimate $150,000–250,000.
    Maynard Dixon visited Arizona and New Mexico for the first time in 1900 and was immediately enamored by the vast, unspoiled landscape. He began his artistic career as an illustrator of the American West, later experimenting with Impressionism and finally developing a distinctively modern aesthetic. Executed in 1941 during the mature period of his career, Canyon Ranch demonstrates Dixon’s ability to create a powerful composition that has been pared down to its most simple and essential forms.

  • Eanger Irving Couse, Indian/Horse/Teepee. Estimate $25,000–35,000.
    E.I. Couse was a founding member and the first president of the Taos Society of Arts, which was founded in 1915. He is celebrated for his faithful depictions of Native Americans as well as his landscape painting of the American southwest. Infused with vibrant colour, Indian/Horse/Teepee most likely depicts a view looking east from the artist’s garden in Taos.


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