Modern Art in Taos - The Second Chapter

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MODERN ART IN TAOS The Second Chapter

It is difficult to say when exactly modern art began trending in Taos. Was it with the more experimental members of the Taos Society of Artists who painted representationally in a more edgy simplified form, or did it begin with the transcendentalists like Emil Bisttram? Or, was it the various visionary artists socialite Mabel Dodge Lujan invited, like John Marin and Andrew Dasburg? The artists selected for this exhibition include painters that came in the 1930s, like Andrew Dasburg and Thomas Benrimo, who pushed the envelope of Modernism to Cubism and Surrealism. And those that would arrive in the 1940s like Louis Ribak, Beatrice Mandelman and Earl Stroh, who were among the earliest members of the second generation of avant-garde artists. This second generation of artists clearly marks the most definitive beginning of modern art in Taos. This evolution from representational to non-objective abstract painters was in full stride by the 1950s, and these featured artists, along with those who came after, would become known collectively as the Taos Moderns. This exhibition is “part one� in a series which focuses on the beginning of what can be considered the second chapter of art history in Taos.

Featuring works by: Andrew Dasburg Thomas Benrimo Louis Ribak Beatrice Mandelman Earl Stroh

MODERN ART IN TAOS The Second Chapter

Opening Reception: Saturday May 14, 5 - 7 pm Exhibition Dates: May 14 - June 30, 2016



Early Moderns to Contemporary 203 Ledoux St. - Taos - NM - 87571 - - 575.751.1262

Andrew Dasburg (1887 - 1979) Born in Paris, France, Andrew Dasburg became a pioneer of American modernism. He was a master teacher at Woodstock, New York where, with Konrad Cramer, he rebelled against the traditional and sensitive approach to landscape of John Fabian Carlson and Birge Harrison. He married Grace Mott Johnson, an artist, in 1909, and in 1918, he began summer trips to Taos, New Mexico at the invitation of Mabel Dodge Luhan. He settled there in 1930. In New York, he studied at the Art Students League with Kenyon Cox and Birge Harrison, whose tonalist style he countered by helping to form a Fauve group called the Sunflower Club, dedicated to using bright colors. He then went to France. He exhibited in the Armory Show of 1913 and is associated with American Synchromist painters of that time, having shared a house at Woodstock with Synchromist leader Morgan Russell. Dasburg was a proponent of Cezanne and criticized by Taos Artists for being too closely associated with that artist. Dasburg is credited with being a major factor in bringing Taos artists art to the attention of the general public. Source: Peter Hastings Falk (Editor), Who Was Who in American Art

Autumn Day, Ranchos de Taos, 1959, 23.5 x 34.25", oil on board

untitled Trees, 1964, 18 x 23", pen and ink on paper

New Mexico Landscape, 1973, 14 x 20", pastel on paper

April Snow, 1967, 17.5 x 22.5", ink and pastel on paper

Thomas Benrimo (1887 - 1958) Born in San Francisco, Benrimo studied in New York at the Art Students League, then worked as a theatrical designer. He designed the stage set for Shakespeare's The Tempest, as produced by John Corbin. He taught at Pratt Institute from 1935 to 1939, where one of his students was graphic designer Gene Federico (who also was a camoufleur during World War II). Among his colleagues was his future wife, Dorothy, a jewelry designer who taught industrial design. They soon married and, in 1939, due to health problems, they moved to Taos NM, where they lived and worked for the rest of their lives. In Witt (2002), Benrimo is said to have been "well versed in the design principles of the German Bauhaus. His reputation as a design teacher continued even after he moved from New York. Laszlo MoholyNagy, founder of the New Bauhaus art school in Chicago, apparently invited him to take a position at the school some years after his move to Taos," but Benrimo declined (p. 74). Sources: Roy R. Behrens (2009), "Thomas (Duncan) Benrimo" Entry in Camoupedia: A Compendium of Research on Art, Architecture and Camouflage. Dysart IA: Bobolink Books. Vogel, Donald S. (2000). Memories and Images: The World of Donald Vogel and Valley House Gallery. University of North Texas Press. Witt, David L. (2002). Modernists in Taos: From Dasburg to Martin. Santa Fe NM: Red Crane Books.

Abstraction in Blue, 1952, 18 x 12", oil on board

Hidden, c. 1950's, 9 x 7", ink on paper

Untitled, c. 1950's, 11 x 8", oil on masonite

Enigmatic Person, c. 1950's, 10.25 x 15", pen and ink on paper

Monolith, 1954, 29 1/2 x 40 inches, oil on Masonite

Louis Ribak (1902 - 1979) Louis Ribak emigrated with his family from Russian-Poland to New York City in 1912. He studied at the Art Students League during the early 1920's under John Sloan. Sloan was an editor for the radical periodical, New Masses, and prompted the young artist to illustrate for the publication. In 1942, he married fellow artist Beatrice Mandelman. In the mid 1940's, the couple followed the advice of John Sloan and moved to New Mexico. The move was prompted in part by the desire for a healthier climate for Ribak but also because they felt a need to leave New York as they had become disillusioned by "dissention between Social Realists and Abstract Expressionists." In 1947, the Ribaks' opened and instructed at the Taos Valley Art School. The school closed in 1953 when the couple returned to New York City. However, the move back to New York was short-lived and they settled permanently in Taos in 1956. In 1959, the couple opened the Gallery Ribak in their home. The gallery showed their own work as well as that of other Taos artists. In addition to the gallery, Ribak regularly exhibited in other locations throughout the region. In New Mexico, Ribak shifted his focus entirely to full abstraction saying that as an artist he was "not truly anything. I am against everything. Damned abstract[ionists], realists, illustrators‌"

Talpa Village, c. 1940's, oil on canvas, 24 x 30"

Abstract Still Life, c. 1950's, 48 x 72", oil on board

Nude on Beach, c. 1950, 18 x 30", acrylic on paper

Untitled, c. 1970's, 29 x 21", guoache & ink on paper

March, c. 1970's, 40 x 36", oil on canvas

Beatrice Mandelman (1912 - 1998) Born on December 31, 1912 in Newark, New Jersey, from an early age Beatrice Mandelman was determined to be an artist. At age 12, she began taking classes at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art. In the 1930s, she attended Rutgers University, the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art and the Art Students League in New York City. In 1942 Mandelman married Louis Ribak and in 1944, they traveled to Santa Fe to visit Ribak's teacher and mentor, the artist John Sloan, who'd recommended the climate and atmosphere. Finding Santa Fe congested, they took the train along the Rio Grande and a stagecoach up to Taos and decided to settle there. An impulsive and inspired move, it was a decision that would effectively remove them from the art world's mainstream. In 1944 Taos was a well-known art community, but there were no galleries exhibiting modern art. A new influx of artists from New York and California during the late 40s and 50s would change this. A group of these artists, including Mandelman and Ribak, Ed Corbett, Agnes Martin, Oli Sihvonen, and Clay Spohn, would become known as the "Taos Moderns". Beatrice Mandelman died on June 25th, 1998 in her home in Taos. In the last months of her life, she produced the thirty-one works in the Winter series. Over the span of seven decades, Beatrice Mandelman produced a body of work consisting of hundreds of paintings, prints, collages, and works on paper. Source: Mandelman Ribak Foundation,

Still Life with White Bowl, c. 1945, 16 x 20", oil on canvas-board

Circles, c. 1960's, 48 x 24", casein on masonite

Grey Collage, c. 1960's, 35.75 x 48.25", mixed media collage on matboard

Canyon #10, 1960, 60 x 45", acrylic on masonite

Untitled, c. 1950's, 30 x 3.75", oil on paper

Earl Stroh (1924- 2005) Earl Stroh was born in 1924 in Buffalo, New York and studied at the Art Institute of Buffalo, the Art Students League of New York, the University of New Mexico, and the Atelier Friedlander in Paris. In 1947 he moved to Taos, New Mexico, where he worked with Andrew Dasburg and Tom Benrimo. He began making lithographs in 1970 and was chosen several times as a guest artist at the University of New Mexico's Tamarind Institute. His subjects were usually panoramic landscapes, in which he sought to express "a unity and the possibility of an openness of all forms to all others." "Most of [Earl's] life was spent in Taos; at the Wurlitzer Foundation, then at his elegantly simple home in Talpa, which was as much studio as house. But he was singularly a citizen of the world; grown as an Easterner in Buffalo, New York, lived in New York City and Paris, trekked through Bolivia, hospitalized in Rio de Janeiro and traveled throughout Europe chasing the wisdom of his predecessors in art. . . At a party in Denver for the unveiling of what is now his last completed oil, Earl disdained the meaning of any particular painting. For the meaning was the work, and so to be worked at, completed, and certainly not talked about. Perhaps that is the ethical aspect he embodied, a philosophy partly influenced by the Austrian novelist Hermann Broch and his novel, Earl's beloved The Death of Virgil."

Mesa Verde, c. 1950s, 21.5 x 20", etching ed AP

Abstract Landscape, c. 1960's, 30.25 x 32.25", oil on canvas

Madrigal, 1973, 21 x 23", pastel on paper

Earth Violet, c. 1960's, 45 x 34", oil on canvas

A White Turning, c. 1960's, 22 x 28", oil on canvas


FINE ART Early Moderns to Contemporary - 575-751-1262 -