Unattributed: Segesser Hide II (detail) circa 1730
New Mexico History Museum, 113 Lincoln Ave., 505-476-5200 Some of the earliest known paintings depicting colonial life in the United States are not on canvas but are painted on large hides, probably from bison. Named for Philipp von Segesser von Brunegg, a Jesuit priest who may have acquired them more than 200 years ago in Sonora, Mexico, the hides remained in the von Segesser family until 1988, when they were purchased by the Palace of the Governors. The hides are identified as Segesser I and II and may have been made in the region that is now New Mexico. It’s possible that the hides were painted by more than one person in the early 18th century and bear a style more reminiscent of indigenous folk paintings than European styles. The Segesser hides are on permanent display.