Taos Ex­pan­sions

The Couse-sharp His­toric Site in New Mexico ac­quires Joseph Henry Sharp’s home for archive and re­search fa­cil­ity.

Western Art Collector - - WESTERN ART NEWS -

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.

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