the harwood museum of art
Exploring the twelve unique galleries of the Harwood Museum of Art, you will experience a comprehensive story of art in Taos. Showing art ranging from the Taos Society of Artists to the Taos Moderns, from Pueblo to Hispano, from traditional to cutting edge, The Harwood not only represents these diverse artistic and cultural traditions, but shows you how they have influenced each other.
The Agnes Martin Gallery is perhaps the most visited exhibition space at the Harwood. Comprised of seven of her later paintings, donated by the artist in 1994, Martin herself helped to design the gallery and spent many hours within the tranquil space. In addition, the Daniel W. Dietrich II Foundation has gifted Tundra to the Harwood, the last painting by Agnes Martin from the period during which she created her signature grid painting.
The History of the Harwood Museum
The Ledoux Street neighborhood, where the Harwood Museum stands, probably had its first adobe houses built in the early part of the nineteenth century. There were buildings standing on what would later become the Harwood property when Smith H. Simpson acquired it in 1861.
Simpson had come west to serve in a military campaign against the Ute Indians, and later worked as a clerk for the nearly illiterate Kit Carson. After Simpson’s death in 1916, his heirs sold their family house
to Burritt and Elizabeth Harwood. From 1917 to 1924, the Harwoods acquired three additional parcels on the east side and one more on the west. In 1918, they renovated the buildings and called the complex “El Pueblito,” since its design was strongly influenced by the architecture of Taos Pueblo.
In 1923, a year after her husband’s death, Elizabeth Harwood, joined by members of the art and business community, Bert Phillips, T.P. Martin, Victor Higgins, William M. Frayne, and B.G. Randall, created what would become one of New Mexico’s most enduring art institutions, the Harwood Foundation.
In 1929, the Harwood and the University of New Mexico developed a partnership that existed up to 1937, at which time ownership was transferred to the University. Elizabeth retained her residence in the
Harwood until her death in 1938. Her vision of turning their home into an art center, cultural center, and library for northern New Mexico had been achieved. In 1998, after relocation of the town library which was housed in the structure, the Harwood building was renovated and renamed the Harwood Museum. It has been referred to as the “jewel in the crown” of Northern New Mexico.