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remarkable women of taos

The word “authenticity” struck a chord with the remarkable Taos women featured here on this website. Authenticity seems to be the common thread that binds these women’s stories, the attribute that most defines them. May you find inspiration in their lives and words. May you see yourself and parallels with your own life. May they serve as beacons, mentors and role models.

MABEL DODGE LUHAN

Mabel Dodge Luhan
Mabel Dodge Luhan was both a formidable patron of the arts and a legendary hostess turning Taos into an “international salon.” Because of her persuasiveness, most of the notable authors, free-thinkers and artists of the early to mid-20th century found their way to Taos (like D.H. Lawrence, Aldous Huxley, Ansel Adams, Martha Graham, and Georgia O’Keefe), many staying for a time or a lifetime. Her influence in Taos can be found everywhere.

Here are just a few of the spots where she either made a temporary or a permanent home that are now legendary in their own right.

A few of the many places and luminaries Mable Dodge Luhan touched:

  • Taos Pueblo www.taospueblo.com at the end of Veteran’s Highway, 575.758.1028
  • Mabel Dodge Luhan House www.mabeldodgeluhan.com 240 Morada Lane, 800.846.2235
  • D.H. Lawrence “Forbidden Paintings” – Hotel La Fonda de Taos www.lafondataos.com, 108 S. Plaza, 575.758.2211.
  • Fechin House/Taos Art Museum – Former home of Mabel’s friends Nicolai and Alexandra Fechin, Russian emigres. Impressionist Nicolai was inspired by Taos and the Southwest. www.taosartmuseum.org 227 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, 575.758.2690.
  • San Francisco de Asis Church – subject of artists Ansel Adams and Georgia O’Keeffe; both friends of Mabel as well. 60 Ranchos Plaza, Ranchos de Taos 575.758.2754.
  • Taos Plaza – Mabel used to socialize with her friends at several cantinas (no longer in existence) on Taos Plaza. In memory of her fond times there, she donated the current gazebo before her death in 1952.

BEATRICE MANDELMAN AND THE TAOS MODERNS
Beatrice MandelmanPrecocious and clearly artistic from an early age, Bea first appeared on the national stage as a WPA artist and printmaker, easily becoming an exhibiting member of the New York School with fellow Abstract Expressionist artists Jackson Pollock, Arshile Gorky and Willem Kooning before moving to New Mexico with her husband Louis Riback in 1944. They quickly re-located from Santa Fe to Taos and became founding members of the Taos Moderns, inspired by the light, landscape and diverse confluence of cultures. Her former studio was located in an historic adobe at 208 Ranchitos Road. Although her intense curiosity, intuitive synthesis of trending East and West Coast art forms, and her love of travel continued to have a profound influence on her life and work, Taos remained her home until her death at age 85 in 1998. 2012 is the centennial year of her birth. Mandelman is represented locally by 203 Fine Art, www.203FINEART.com.

AGNES MARTIN, ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONIST/ MINIMALIST
Agnes MartinThis unusual and brilliant mid-century minimalist whose most famous later work was comprised of subtly toned ‘grid’ paintings did live to see international collectors become more sophisticated and in turn, discover her work and vision. Auction prices steadily increased even before her death at 92 in 2004 to $4.7 million. She lived and painted in Taos for the first time from 1952-57 when her work reflected a more abstractionist (Biomorphic) approach, finally returning for good in 1973. Her later years were spent in the modest surroundings of Taos Retirement Village on Camino de la Placita and her earnings were devoted to anonymous funding and endowments of Abstract Expressionist art to select museums around the country. 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of her birth. See her work at the Harwood Museum of Art.

MILLICENT ROGERS, NOTED SOCIALITE, PHILANTHROPIST AND ARTIST-COLLECTOR, STANDARD OIL HEIRESS 
Millicent RogersHer seminal and unabashed style was a lifelong trademark; no matter what Millicent did or where she traveled, she wholeheartedly explored and adapted to the culture in which she lived, from New York to Austria to Taos. Beginning in 1947 at her beloved Turtle Walk home in Taos (now a private residence for one of her sons) she began lovingly amassing her collections of Spanish Colonial furniture, Native American textiles and jewelry, baskets, Santos, tinwork and paintings as well as the most extensive collection of Maria Martinez pottery extant. She also created original drawings and jewelry designs which have now been realized and are for sale. Her focus and promotion of same gave rise to the current ‘Southwest Style.’ After her death in 1953, her sons purchased the home that now houses her eponymous collections north of Taos, at the Millicent Rogers Museum. A biography entitled Searching for Beauty, the Life of Millicent Rogers, by Cherie Burns, was released in September, 2011, and is available at www.cherieburns.com.

ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Timeline of Events

A timeline of the important events that have shaped Taos, from ancient times of hunter-gatherers to the modern day art colony.

Taos Visionaries:
Past and Present

Visionaries, ranging across the time and cultural spectrum, who helped make Taos what it is today.

Taos in the Movies

Taos has always inspired artists and other creative types, and cinema is no exception. Come explore where movies are made!

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