New Mexico Art Tells its History

Snake Dance, Oraibi - Imhof

Snake Dance, Oraibi, n.d.
Joseph Adam Imhof (American, 1871 - 1955)
watercolor, 26 x 20 in. (66 x 50.8 cm) (image)
Gift of Mrs. Joseph Imhof, 1962

Joseph Imhof, born in Brooklyn, New York, was first introduced to art at age six when he received a box of watercolors from his godfather. It wasn’t until he was twenty that he pursued a formal art education in Europe. A critical experience of his overseas travel was meeting Buffalo Bill Cody and joining him in Antwerp to sketch and paint various members of the "Wild West Show." This inspired his artistic focus of painting for ethnographic and anthropological documentation rather than artistic expression. In 1905 he visited the Southwest for the first time to record the ceremonies of the Pueblo Indians, building a studio in Albuquerque in 1906, and spending the next few years traveling around the region. Imhof and his wife moved to Taos permanently in 1929 where he had the first lithography press in town, used to make ethnographic prints and teach his techniques of recording the region's history.


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