The art of Ernest Blumenschein (1874-1960) is celebrated in the comprehensive exhibition In Contemporary Rhythm: The Art of Ernest L. Blumenschein. Opening Sunday, June 8, with a reception and programs from noon to 4:00 pm at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, In Contemporary Rhythm will present 61 major paintings, as well as five illustrations and sketches of Ernest Blumenschein, one of the founders of the Taos Society of Artists and one of the most accomplished of the group. The exhibition opening events include a lecture at 1:00 pm by Elizabeth Cunningham that introduces the exhibition through exploring key works and periods in Blumenschein’s life and career, a book signing for the exhibition catalogue, special tours of related collections of the museum, and family art activities.
The story of Ernest Blumenschein begins in 1898 when a fateful painting trip to New Mexico found a young Blumenschein and fellow artist, Bert Phillips, stranded with a broken wagon wheel outside the remote village of Taos. So impressed were the two by their adventures they made plans to make it home. While Phillips would return the following year, it would take Blumenschein over twenty years to settle permanently. In the intervening years an art colony developed and eventually formed into the Taos Society of Artists.
Ernest Blumenschein, born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1874 and raised in Dayton, Ohio, was an academically trained painter, an accomplished violinist, and a respected illustrator and teacher during his life.
His early attraction to the Southwest was cultivated as an illustrator for magazines and books which explored the plight of Native Americans. He would take up these same themes in his paintings, first portraying Native Americans as cultural symbols and later advocating for their rights.
Blumenschein is remembered for his appealing, life-like paintings of New Mexican landscapes and people. But he was also an artist engaged with current trends. He challenged himself artistically whether it was writing a review of the most important modern exhibition of his time, forming a group of experimental painters, or exhibiting alongside the period’s modern American artists.
In Contemporary Rhythm: The Art of Ernest L. Blumenschein features paintings, illustrations, and sketches, from early academic through mature works exploring concepts of modernism. The exhibition was organized by The Albuquerque Museum, the Denver Art Museum and the Phoenix Art Museum. In Contemporary Rhythm opens at the Albuquerque Museum, will then be at the Denver Art Museum from November 8, 2008 to February 8, 2009, and closes with exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum from March 15 to June 14, 2009.