Robert C. Ellis & Michio Takayama Legends of Taos Series catalogue 2017

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Early Moderns to Contemporary

Legends of Taos Series Robert C. Ellis & Michio Takayama

Takayama: Orange & Yellow Abstract, 40 x 36", oil on canvas, 1966

Good friends in life, paintings by Takayama and Ellis, both recipients of a Helene Wurlitzer Foundation Grant in Taos, will hang side by side. Exhibition dates: July 8 - July 30, 2017 (open by appointment) Opening Reception: Saturday 5 to 7 pm, July 8th, 2017

1335 Gusdorf Rd . Suite i . Taos NM . 575.751.1262 .

Ellis: El Greco II, 20 x 20", mixed media on linen, 1974

Takayama: Joy, 26 x 30", oil on canvas, c 1970s

Michio Takayama (1903 - 1994) Michio Takayama was a painter committed to his art first and foremost, who expressed his visions of both inner beauty and physical majesty in richly-layered, vibrant abstract paintings. He was an unlikely Taos resident, having been born in turn-of-the-century rural Japan and educated to carry on the family business. But through his unwavering commitment to his art, and a series of unforeseen circumstances, Mr. Takayama found Taos, a place that reflected the vastness of his mind and heart and a place where he could express himself completely with his palette knife and brushes. Michio Takayama was born on October 11, 1903, in Chiba prefecture, Japan, the first son of a country squire. Following his father’s wishes, he studied law at university and embarked on a banking career in Tokyo. After work and on weekends, he painted, including eight years of study (1931-39) with noted Japanese landscape painter Shin Kurihara. In 1939, following a series of successes in the modern art community, Michio quit his banking job, and turned to painting full-time. His father promptly disowned him. Michio won prestigious awards, including one for which he was presented a sword by Prime Minister Tojo. He was a jurying member and active leader in the Niki Artists’ Association. He also traveled extensively in Japan, Taiwan and Manchuria to paint.

Takayama: Flageolet in Red, 40 x 40", oil on canvas, 1966

Michio Takayama In November 1956, Michio and his wife, Yaye, went to Los Angeles to attend their daughter’s wedding. During the visit, Yaye was diagnosed with cancer and required immediate medical care. This required that she stay in the U.S. beyond their tourist visas. At that time, Michio was exhibiting at the Landau Gallery, (where he later held three successful one-man shows,) and Felix Landau and Illinois Congressman Sidney Yates helped Michio and Yaye acquire their permanent residency visas. In the summer of 1966, Michio and Yaye were introduced to Taos by a former painting student. It was on that trip that Michio made his first drawings and became enamored with the scenery. The Takayamas moved to Taos in April 1967 to take up their fellowship at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation Residency program. They built their home and studio in Taos, where Michio, inspired daily by the uninterrupted views of Taos Mountain and the beautiful sunsets, painted and exclaimed, “Taos is best!” Michio Takayama showed his work in museums and galleries, primarily in the Southwest and Southern California, until the end of his life. He died on January 9, 1994.

Takayama: Lucidity, 35 x 25", oil on canvas, 1979

Takayama: Lingering Dream, 31.5 x 35.5", oil on canvas, c 1970s

Ellis: Composition I, 10 x 30", oil & collage on canvas, 1972

Robert C. Ellis (1923 - 1979) 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.

Ellis: Yellow Ocher, 10.75 x 7.75", crayon on paper, 1959

Robert C. Ellis 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 moved to a more minimalist – type artwork in both his painting and print making. Ellis applied what he saw in the landscape, interpreting the lessons garnered 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.

Ellis: We Find Solace, 21.5 x 14", casein on paper, 1957

Ellis: Noche Larga, 14 x 8.5", wood block on paper ed 43/50, 1965

Takayama: Yellow Abstract, 30 x 40", oil on canvas, 1966

Ellis: Horizontal Orange, 7 x 21.5", casein on paper, 1960

Takayama: June Bride, 30 x 24", oil on canvas, 1970s

Takayama: Unknown Fable, 25 x 13, oil on canvas, dated 1965.

Ellis: Composition II, 12 x 36", oil on canvas, c 1970s

Takayama: Wedding to the Moon with the Mountain, 40 x 22", oil on canvas, 1963

Ellis: Merry Christmas, 3.25 x 4.75", crayon and gouache on paper, 1956

Ellis: Cuautla No. Twenty, 30 x 24, oil on canvas, 1963

Takayama: Sky Song Red, 19 x 51", oil on canvas, c 1970s

Ellis: Calabria, 15.75 x 39.75", oil on canvas, c 1960s

Takayama: Hahonoge,30 x 36", oil on canvas, c 1970s

Takayama: Invielno, 16 x 37", oil on canvas, c 1970s

Ellis: Landscape, 20 x 30.5", wood block on paper ed 10/10, 1962

Takayama: Mind of Autumn, 12 x 24", oil on canvas, c 1970s

Ellis: Cittanova, 7.75 x 10.75", crayon on paper, 1959

Ellis: Tempter, 24 x 36", oil on canvas, 1962

Takayama: Birth of Tempest, 36 x 30", oil on canvas, 1977

Ellis: Desert Landscape Night, 26.25 x 33.5", lithograph on paper AP, 1978

Takayama: Portal Toledo, 40 x 35", oil on canvas, c 1970s

Takayama: Space Walker, 36.75 x 20.5", oil on canvas, 1970's

Ellis: Paisaje Interceptado, 36 x 73.5", oil on linen, 1958

Recognition and provenance: The source of these many works varies from corporate and private collections, to collectors with personal friendships and family. Many of the paintings by Michio Takayama were collected for Midland Federal Savings and Loan in Denver, by Marvin Buckels the bank's Chief Operating Officer. Marvin was a major supporter of the early modern artists in Taos for twenty some years. He and his wife Doris, were also long time personal friends to Michio and his wife Yaye, a bond that Marvin still holds dear. We would also like to recognize and dedicate this exhibition to Rosa Ellis Clark, who continues to love and respects Robert C. Ellis' legacy, for lending artwork to this exhibition, supporting our gallery, and the various art institutions and foundations throughout Taos for the last several decades.

Located south of downtown Taos NM. We are a destination location, open by appointment, for a personalized art experience. Please call or email

1335 Gusdorf RD . Suite i . Taos NM . 575.751.1262 .