Essence of Lo­ca­tion

A new book ex­am­ines the work of Ger­man-born Taos pain­ter Hans Paap.

Western Art Collector - - WESTERN ART NEWS -

Pain­ter Hans Paap was born in Hamburg, Ger­many, but spent much of his life trav­el­ing around the world. He lived for a time in Mex­ico, Ar­gentina, Brazil and even man­aged to get back to Ger­many to visit his fam­ily, but was un­able to get out un­til af­ter the end of World War II. But it was a brief stay in Taos, New Mex­ico—he even lived with E. Martin Hen­nings for a brief pe­riod—which put Paap on the Western art map.

Paap’s work is fea­tured in Hans Paap: Por­traits & Land­scapes, which was pub­lished by his daugh­ter, Nancy Paap, who last saw her fa­ther when she was 4 years old and be­gan col­lect­ing his work as a way to be­gin to un­der­stand his

life. “Once I be­gan col­lect­ing his paint­ings and re­search­ing his life, I re­al­ized he was as gifted a por­trait and land­scape pain­ter as the mem­bers of the Taos So­ci­ety of Artists, who were con­tem­po­raries and friends of his,” Nancy writes in the book. “I also be­gan to lament that his work was so lit­tle known and un­der­ap­pre­ci­ated. The lack of ac­claim seems at­trib­ut­able to the fact that he never set­tled in one place long enough to be­come es­tab­lished and rec­og­nized. This book seeks to rec­tify that in­equity.”

The book em­pha­sizes Paap’s deep love of the Southwest, and also his sub­jects, which in­cluded Na­tive Amer­i­cans, blue-col­lar work­ers, fam­ily mem­bers and im­por­tant peo­ple in Taos, in­clud­ing Ma­bel Dodge Luhan.

“My fa­ther’s por­traits and land­scapes cap­ture the souls of the in­di­vid­u­als and the essence of the lo­ca­tions he painted. Al­though cir­cum­stances pre­vented me from ever ac­com­pa­ny­ing him to the places he lived and worked, his paint­ings serve as a record, a tour guide, giv­ing me a chance to see those peo­ple and places through his eyes,” Nancy writes. “The evoca­tive por­traits and land­scapes en­able me, even decades later, to look over his shoul­der and see the same faces and vis­tas that com­pelled him to pick up his paint­brush.”

The book is avail­able now from on­line stores and other book­sell­ers.

Hans Paap out­side his Taos stu­dio in the 1950s.

Hans Paap (1890-1967), In­dian in Pro­file, Taos, New Mex­ico, 1928, oil on linen, 20 x 18”. Cour­tesy Nancy Paap, Te­suque, NM.

Hans Paap: Por­traits & Land­scapes, pub­lished by the artist’s daugh­ter, Nancy Paap.

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