New Mexico Art Tells its History

Rio Grande

Rio Grande, 1915
Walter Ufer (American, 1876 - 1936)
oil on canvas board, 12 x 10 1/4 in. (30.5 x 26 cm) (image)
Bequest of Adelia R. Seligman, 1981

Walter Ufer was born Louisville, Kentucky, and in 1893 sailed to Germany, where he spent three years in Dresden as a student at the Royal Academy and as a member of art circles there. Moving back and forth between Chicago and Europe for several years, he exhibited his paintings to great praise and was awarded a travel opportunity to New Mexico as a guest of the Santa Fe Railroad. 

Taos captured Ufer’s imagination, and by 1917 he was an active member of the Taos Society of Artists. By 1920 his paintings of Taos Indians had achieved significant attention. Unlike so many of his Taos counterparts, Ufer seems to have been struck by the irony of the Indian’s lot in this artistic paradise, and he used the language of paint to argue more eloquently than he could have done with words.

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