HAVE YOU BEEN THERE?
By Chet Yarbrough
May 1, 2012
Sante Fe, New Mexico is a trail’s end and beginning; i.e. from the Missouri frontier, coursing through 900 miles of wilderness, the Sante Fe trail ends as a city of commerce in the late 1800s. Sante Fe becomes an artist colony and tourist mecca in the 1920s.
After the trail was replaced with the railroad in 1880, Sante Fe re-invented itself. It became an increasingly famous artist haven with American Indian Storyteller clay figures
and black-on-black pottery in the early 1920s. American artists were drawn by the beauty of the country, a beauty that fed on itself with modernist landscape prints and paintings from people like Gustave Baumann, Marsden Hartley, and Andrew Dasburg.
Baumann is a German immigrant that came to the United States in 1891. While working as an engraver, he went to Art Institute of Chicago, returning to Germany in the early 1900 s to study wood carving. He returns to the U. S. and becomes known as a wood carver and marionette maker. In 1918, Baumann heads to the Southwest and becomes the leader of an artist colony in Taos, New Mexico. Finding Taos a little to urban, he moves to Sante Fe.
Marsden Hartley is born in Lewiston, Maine. He becomes acquainted with Alfred Stieglitz who becomes a companion and promoter of Georgia, O’Keefe. In 1912, Hartley travels to Europe and becomes acquainted with famous writers and artists in Berlin and France. He associates with early abstractionists like Kandinsky and refines his own work. He returns to America in 1916 and Sante Fe becomes one of his landscape interests.
Andrew Dasburg, born in Paris, emigrates to Germany and leaves for America in the early 1900 s. He receives an art scholarship to the Art Students League of New York. Like Hartley, Dasburg became acquainted with Stieglitz. In contrast to Hartley, Dasburg adopts cubism, influenced by association with Cezanne, as his preferred artistic milieu. Like many artists of the 20th century, Hartley spends time in Sante Fe. In 1979, he dies in his Taos, New Mexico home.
Later, Sante Fe became famous with works exhibited by Georgia O’Keefe in the 1940s.
The Georgia O’Keefe Museum, in downtown Sante Fe, beautifully displays O’Keefe’s art and offers an informative video glimpse of her fascinating life.
Walking around the city is like being in a giant art gallery. No turn is made without seeing a building, a sculpture, a mural, or
a whimsical work of art that grabs one’s attention.
Add the beautiful April weather, green bean chili, great scenery and one begins to think of more frequent visits and longer stays.
Sante Fe is a fascinating town filled with art, nostalgic beauty, and an appeal to all levels of aesthetic sensibility.