Joseph Henry Sharp: New Mex­ico Mu­seum of Art

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Mem­bers of the Taos So­ci­ety of Artists are largely known for their works of Taos, par­tic­u­larly its peo­ple. And yet mem­bers of the TSA were like any other artists paint­ing in the world: they me­an­dered through gen­res and sub­jects, wil­fully paint­ing what they found in­ter­est­ing.

This artis­tic me­an­der­ing will be abun­dantly clear when mu­seum visi­tors catch a glimpse of two flo­ral paint­ings cre­ated by Joseph Henry Sharp at the New Mex­ico Mu­seum of Art. A to­tal of three works by Sharp, long known for his work of Na­tive Amer­i­cans, have been do­nated to the Santa Fe mu­seum from Lore Thorpe, daugh­ter-in-law of Kathryn V. Thorpe, who owned and man­aged Santa Fe’s Bishop’s Lodge from the late 1920s through the mid 1950s. Kathryn Thorpe bought the paint­ings di­rectly from Sharp and helped Sharp sell his other paint­ings at the lodge.

One of the ear­li­est Euro­pean Amer­i­can artists to visit Taos, Sharp has a sig­nif­i­cant body of still life works. The three paint­ings do­nated by Thorpe in­clude the two flo­ral works, Dry Flow­ers and Marigold-cal­en­dula, and a land­scape ti­tled Taos Cañon.

Mu­seum di­rec­tor Mary Ker­shaw says, “The Mu­seum of Art cur­rently holds 16 works by Sharp in its per­ma­nent col­lec­tion, but these are the first two flower paint­ings and they are gor­geous. We are grate­ful for this sig­nif­i­cant do­na­tion to the mu­seum from the Thorpe fam­ily and proud to sup­ple­ment our col­lec­tion of works from the man con­sid­ered the ‘spir­i­tual father’ of the [Taos So­ci­ety of Artists].”

Lore Thorpe adds, “I’m very happy these beau­ti­ful paint­ings are go­ing to be in a place where they will be hon­ored and re­spected and that the pub­lic is go­ing to be able to see these paint­ings be­cause they are truly ex­cep­tional.”

Joseph Henry Sharp (1859-1953), Taos Cañon: Cot­ton­wood, Box El­der, Cedar, and Sage, ca. 1935, oil on can­vas. Gift of Lore Thorpe in mem­ory of Kathryn V. Thorpe, 2018.

Joseph Henry Sharp (1859-1953), Marigold-cal­en­dula, ca. 1935, oil on can­vas. Gift of Lore Thorpe in mem­ory of Kathryn V. Thorpe, 2018.

Joseph Henry Sharp (1859-1953), Dry Flow­ers, ca. 1935, oil on can­vas. Gift of Lore Thorpe in mem­ory of Kathryn V. Thorpe, 2018.

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