Taos Art Museum first opened its doors to the public in 1994. The museum was moved eight years later to the historic and beautiful Nicolai Fechin house, and focuses on the art from early 20th century Taos. The home that houses the museum was built between 1927 and 1933 by artist Nicolai Fechin for his family. Fechin, born in 1881 in Russia, molded and carved the adobe buildings into a harmonic and fascinating combination of Spanish, Native American, and Russian motifs. His descendants have entrusted the art museum with several pieces of his artwork.
Years of hard work constructing the building that now houses the Taos Art Museum resulted in an asymmetrical adobe Pueblo and Mission Revival house. Nicolai Fechin built a remarkable home, as well as a Southwest architectural masterpiece that combined the arts of metalwork, drawing, sculpture, and painting. The spaces inside the house were sympathetic to the art collections of Fechin, and also his sculpture carvings, architectural ornament, and furniture.
After Nicolai Fechin's death in 1955, his daughter Eya returned to New Mexico to care for the house he had built. The Fechin home was listed on the National Registry of Historic American Homes in 1979. Fechin's daughter opened the house as a museum so the public could view his many works of art. While living in Fechin's studio, Eya started the Fechin Institute, and maintained educational programs and active exhibition until her death in 2002.
At the heart of the Taos Art Museum is its collection of paintings created by masters of the Taos Society of Artists. The group of artists was prolific ever since Phillips and Blumenschein arrived in Taos in 1898 until the 1930's. As a result of the acclaim achieved by these artists, as well as their associates, many more artists began to arrive in Taos, continuing the town's tradition of creativity into the 21st century.
The care, interpretation, and exhibition of a collection of around six hundred paintings, prints, drawings, and other works of art of the Taos founders and artists who followed them is the responsibility of the Board of the Taos Art Museum. To accommodate programs and this collection, the Board acquired the Fechin house and proceeded to renovate the home, as well as the studio and grounds. The group provided some much-needed repair to the home, installed lighting systems and security, as well as other improvements.
The Taos Art Museum at the Fechin house officially opened in 2003 in July, and hosted a welcome reception for the public in September to celebrate the new home for the art of Taos. The museum honors major patrons, as well as other institutions and individuals who supported artists. Work by nearly all members of the Taos Society of Artists can be seen in the collection of artwork held by the museum. Works featured in the museum include pieces created by Bert Geer Phillips, Joseph Henry Sharp, Eanger Irving Couse, Ernest Blumenschein, Oscar Berninghaus, William Herbert "Buck" Dunton, Walter Ufer, and Victor Higgins.
227 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos, New Mexico, Phone: 575-758-2690
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