The Couse-sharp Historic Site in New Mexico acquires Joseph Henry Sharp’s home for archive and research facility.
The Couse-sharp Historic Site, home to several key buildings belonging to Taos Society of Artists founders Eanger Irving Couse and Joseph Henry Sharp, has recently expanded to include an adjacent 5,000-squarefoot adobe building that will be the future home to an archive and research facility devoted to the famous group of artists who settled in Taos, New Mexico.
The building, which has housed the Mission Gallery for many years, was once the home of Sharp, whose two Taos studios are currently part of the Couse-sharp Historic Site. The acquisition of the building, spearheaded by the nonprofit Couse Foundation, was finalized and made public in October 2017. The building will undergo an extensive renovation before the archive and research facility takes shape.
“Our team of local architects has developed plans to transform the Mission Gallery into an archive and research facility devoted to all of the artists who were part of the groundbreaking TSA,” says Carl Jones, president of the Couse Foundation. “After its transformation, the building will be home for a wide range of materials, including historic documents, photographs, scholarly papers focused on the TSA and its individual members, Native art and ethnographic objects collected by several of the artists, a research library, as well as representative artwork.”
The archives will be an important repository of all things related to the Taos Society of Artists, says Davison Koenig, executive director and curator of the Couse sharp Historic Site. “The archive consolidation and increased access will inevitably result in a wealth of new connections, stories and scholarship,” Koenig says.
“We envision great potential for a new generation of scholarship that addresses, for example, the nuanced relationships between Native models and the TSA artists who worked with them.”
Koenig says the centerpiece of the facility will be the Couse archives, which includes papers, sketches and records, as well as 10,000 photographic negatives and plates taken by Couse as part of his artistic process. Koenig notes that the Couse Foundation is pursuing grant funding to digitize, catalog and make accessible the negatives, prints and other archival materials. Scholars and other institutions have donated other important TSA works related to Walter Ufer, Victor Higgins and Ernest L. Blumenschein, with others promising future transfers. The expansion is slated for a 2021 opening.
For more information about the Couse-sharp Historic Site visit www.couse-sharp.org.
Historic photos of Joseph Henry Sharp’s Taos home. Photo courtesy the Tia Collection.
The Mission Gallery, which is now part of the Couse-sharp Historic Site in Taos.