Like Santa Fe, Taos is an important center for the arts. Its plaza and the surrounding streets are lined with craft shops, cafés, and galleries, many housed in orig-inal adobe buildings. Altough Taos Indians have lived in the area for around 1,000 years, the town’s present foundations were laid after Don Diego de Vargas resettled the area after the Pueblo Revolt in 1680.
t A courtyard in Taos, with sculptures, art galleries, and jewelry stores
Experience Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico
n Double-tap image to read the labels
t Gallery dedicated to works by Agnes Martin in the Harwood Museum of Art
This museum occupies an adobe compound, built in the 19th century, that is run by the University of New Mexico. It provides a tranquil setting for paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, and photography.
In 1898, artists Ernest Blumenschein and Bert Phillips stopped in Taos to repair a broken wagon wheel, and, entranced by the beauty of the Taos Valley, they never left. In 1915 they established the Taos Society of Artists, which existed until 1927 and helped pave the way for the growth of the tiny artistic colony of Taos into an inter-national art center. The society mainly painted Native Americans, early Anglo settlers, and New Mexico landscapes. The Harwood Museum of Art displays work by members of the society alongside that of Modernist painters who flocked to Taos in the 1940s and 50s, and contemporary local artists. There are also collections of works by the Canadian-born American artist Agnes Martin (who spent her final years in Taos), Hispanic paintings, tin objects, and wood carvings that cover a broad range of Hispanic traditions in Northern New Mexico, and Native American paintings and sculpture.
Hotel La Fonda de Taos owns “forbidden” paintings by D. H. Lawrence that were banned in London in 1929.
Born in Russia in 1881, Nicolai Fechin learned woodcarving from his father. He became a talented artist, producing paintings, drawings, and sculpture. Fechin moved to Taos with his family in 1927 and set about restoring his adobe home with Russian-influenced woodwork that included handcrafted doors, windows, and furniture. Today his house is the Taos Art Museum, containing examples of his work as well as that of numerous members of the Taos Society of Artists.
Built by the Spanish and fortified after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, Taos Plaza has been remodeled several times but remains the centerpoint of the town. Its shady trees and benches make it a relaxing spot to sit and people-watch. The copper-topped bandstand was a gift from Mabel Dodge Luhan, New Mexico’s leading arts patron in the 1920s. A flag has flown continuously from the flagpole since the Civil War, when Kit Carson and a band of citizens raised the Union Flag to protect Taos from Confederate supporters.
Experience Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico
Taos’ reputation as an arts colony grew in the 1920s after Mabel Dodge Luhan, a wealthy heiress from New York, moved to town. She established a literary salon and became a patron of the arts, hosting notables such as Georgia O’Keeffe and D. H. Lawrence. She married Tony Luhan, a Native American. Their home at 240 Morada Lane is a National Historic Landmark and is now an inn and conference center.
Charles Bent became the first Anglo-American governor of New Mexico in 1846. In 1847 he was killed by Hispanic and Indian residents who resented American rule. The hole hacked in the adobe by his family as they attempted to flee can still be seen. Today, exhibits include guns, Native artifacts, and animal skins.
Beautiful heiress and arts patron Millicent Rogers (1902–53) moved to Taos in 1947. Fascinated by the area, she created one of the country’s leading museums of Southwestern arts and design. Native silver and turquoise jewelry and Navajo weavings form the core of the exhibits, which are housed in a historic hacienda. Also featured is the pottery of the famous Puebloan artist Maria Martinez (1887–1980), with its distinctive black-on-black style.
t The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, a major landmark near Taos
The dramatic Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, which opened in 1965, is the second-highest bridge on the US Highway System. At 650 ft (195 m) above the Rio Grande, its dizzying heights offer awesome views of the gorge and the surrounding sweeping plateau.
At the age of 17, Christopher “Kit” Carson (1809–68) ran away to join a wagon train and became one of the most famous names in the West. He led a remarkable life, working as a cook and interpreter, a fur-trapping mountain man, a scout for mapping expe-ditions, an Indian agent, and a military officer. He purchased this house in Taos in 1843 for his 14-year-old bride, Josefa Jaramillo, and lived here for the rest of his life. Carson’s remarkable story, and the unpredictable nature of frontier life, are the focus of the museum exhibits, which feature antique firearms, photographs, and furniture.
t The Blumenschein Home and Museum, full of the family’s possessions and art
Ernest Blumenschein (1874– 1960), along with Bert Phillips and Joseph Henry Sharp, was instrumental in founding the Taos Society of Artists in 1915. The society promoted their own work and that of other Taos artists. The museum is located in Blumenschein’s former home, sections of which date from the 1790s. Paintings by Blumenschein and his family, as well as representative works produced by the Taos Society of Artists, hang in rooms decorated with fine Spanish Colonial furniture and European antiques. The splendid house, full of an impressive range of the Blumenschein family’s belongings, beautifully illustrates the life of Taos artists in the first half of the 20th century as well as commemorates the Taos Society of Artists.
EXPERIENCE Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico
Doc Martin’s Restaurant
Named after the county’s first physician, this restaurant offers superior regional cuisine. Multicourse prix-fixe and à la carte menus are available. Try the blue corn chicken enchiladas or Doc’s chile relleno.
⌂ 125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte ∑ taosinn.com
Lambert’s of Taos
Lambert‘s serves a variety of meat, game, and seafood dishes, ranging from sumac-dusted ruby trout to lobster risotto and Harris Ranch filet mignon. It has an excellent list of international wines.
⌂ 123 Bent St ∑ lambertsoftaos.com