Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Blumenschein House, Taos

Star Road and White Sun by Ernest L. Blumenschein c.1920, Albuquerque Museum 

Since I've been on this dwelling theme for a while, why not continue for a bit longer, eh?

I was back in Taos over the weekend to pick up Ms. Ché who'd finished her writers' conference, and we decided to stop at the Blumenschein House on our way out of town to compare and contrast it with the Couse House which we'd visited the prior weekend.

Blumenschein, together with Bert Phillips, started the process of making Taos into the place it is today when their famous Wagon Wheel broke a couple of dozen miles from town and Blumenschein won the toss to take it into the hamlet somewhere down below them to get it fixed. They had to wait, as one can imagine there in the middle of nowhere, and so they did.

While waiting, they became enchanted, so the story goes, and they spent the rest of the summer awestruck and delighted, painting up a storm, and pondering their own futures.

Phillips stayed in Taos the rest of his life. Having settled in, there's no other place he'd rather be. Blumenschein went back to Paris where Joseph Henry Sharp had told him and Bert about the enchantment to be found in Northern New Mexico, and one thing led, eventually, to another, and all of them wound up living and working in Taos at least part time, and Blumenschein and his wife Mary settled in themselves, purchasing Buck Dunton's place (or part of it) on Ledoux St, where they set up quarters of a sort and a studio in four ancient rooms said to have been a part of the village defenses against the Indians when time was.

I won't go into that history, but quite a few of the Spanish settlements in Tierra Adentro were consciously built as fortresses, and the village of Taos was no exception. The Indians were wild back in the day, particularly Kiowa, Comanche, Apache and Navajos.

The appropriate tangent at this point is to mention that there are three distinct "Taos"-es. There is the ancient Indian Pueblo at the foot of the Mountain; there is the village some three or four miles south; then there is Ranchos de Taos, several miles south of the village, where stands San Francisco de Asis mission church that's been painted by Georgia O'Keeffe dozens of times and by other painters endless numbers of times.  Side note: Dennis Hopper is buried in Ranchos de Taos, and his grave is a pilgrimage site for a diminishing number of aging Easy Riders.

Surrounding all of this is an amorphous outlying settlement area dotted with ranches and ranchettes and earthships and what have you where by far the largest number of Taoseños currently live scattered to the winds perhaps, but partaking in their own way the essence of that Sacred Placewhere they don't have to mix too much with the tourists.

At least it's not as bad as Sedona.

Anyway, none of the Taoses would be what they are today without Bluemschein and Phillips and the other members of the Taos Society of Artists and their numerous offshoots and successors and the many other influencers who have passed through or settled there since that fateful Wagon Wheel broke in the summer of 1898.

Blumenschein returned to Taos in the summertime for years, but he lived in Paris or New York, making money as a successful illustrator for magazines and books, until 1919 when he purchased "four rooms" from Buck Dunton, another member of the Taos Society, and settled in, or at least tried to. This was like camping out for the Blumenscheins and most of the other artists attracted by the Blumenscheins and others to Taos. The four rooms were built of mud and timbers, some of the structure apparently among the oldest still standing in the village, they had little heat, no electricity or indoor plumbing, and like everything else in Taos they were at the edge of Nowhere. It's hard to explain how difficult it was to get to Taos from anywhere else, and to get from Taos to anywhere else. This isolation was both a handicap and a blessing.

The house as it stands today is a rambling L shaped structure around a lush courtyard, in one corner of which is Buck Dunton's studio -- which he apparently kept even after all the other rooms on the property  had been purchased by the Blumenscheins. This part of the story is a little confusing to me. Apparently Buck bought part of the rambling structure from earlier residents, but most of the structure was owned by and lived in by long-time Hispanic residents who one by one were persuaded to vacate by Blumenschein's offers of cash money. At least that's how I interpret the story of how Ernest Blumenschein eventually acquired the entire property.

This is a pattern that repeats over and over again -- even now --throughout the fancier and more tourist oriented areas of New Mexico. It's a form of gentrification, pushing out the original settlers and descendants to make way for the shiny, sophisticated newcomers. "Sophisticated" is the key.

The Blumenscheins were nothing if not sophisticated, and yet their mud house on Ledoux Street is a curious amalgam of its primitive Hispanic roots and the high style that the Blumenscheins had acquired in Paris and New York. Curiously, there's almost no Native influence in the house at all, though apparently they employed Native servants as well as Hispanic ones (this was typical of the art colony.)

The Couse house shows lots of Native influence or at least artifacts, and Mabel's Place up the road from the Couse House was built by Native artisans from the Pueblo, and of course, Mabel was married to Tony Luhan (who had his own house on the property) who was born and raised (and had another wife and children) on the Pueblo.

There are a number of other Taos Society historic sites to explore, and eventually we may get to them, or not. I started my explorations of this sort many years ago at La Fonda de Taos where I stopped one evening to take in the D.H.Lawrence scandalous paintings. The ones there now are reproductions, but I saw the originals... and to be kind, I wasn't moved. But it started my journey to learn more about the artistic history of Taos.

It's a story of colonizers and colonization, one that has transformed some of New Mexico yet has left much of the rest of the state practically untouched.

On our way back from Taos this past Sunday we stopped off at the Santuario de Chimayó where a large group of East Indian pilgrims was taking all the Holy Dirt out of the Holy Dirt Pit and transporting it away in gallon containers. There seemed to be none left for the other pilgrims. We sat beside the abandoned crutches and Santo Niño and shook our heads in wonder and wiped the sweat from our brows as the heat and humidity of the day was surprisingly intense. We nodded to the statue of Father Roca in the courtyard. His generosity of spirit will live on....

Saturday, July 13, 2019

I Lived Here

This is getting bizarre. I wasn't sure about the address. After all, I left this place when I was three or four years old, but some numbers came back to me, and when I plugged them in, up popped this duplex. Sure enough, it's where I lived with my mother and sister in 1951. Not sure when we moved in. Nor am I quite sure when we moved to the other side of the tracks* -- either 1951 or 52. I remember that in 1953 we moved to Los Angeles County. This duplex is in Santa Barbara County.

The exterior is almost exactly as I remember it. The colors are the same. The windows are different, the front doors are solid --they were multi-pane glass when I was a kid -- and the fence and overhead on the left side (the side we lived in) weren't there, but otherwise it's remarkably preserved.

The interior is a different matter. It's been so radically renovated that I barely recognize anything. It almost looks like it's been made into a four-plex rather than the duplex it had been, but I can't tell for sure, and the listing states a duplex with two two bedroom one bath units. The interior photos, however, are very confusing with bathrooms opening off living rooms and kitchens tucked into odd corners, nothing at all like the place I remember fairly well after all these years.

The trouble is there's another house down the street -- two bedroom, one bath single family home that strongly resembles this duplex -- where I think we lived before we moved to this place. Or possibly after. My memory is scrambled when it comes to these houses. I distinctly remember living in a duplex but the picture I have in my mind's eye is not this one -- although we definitely lived here. It's a duplex on another street and my memory of it is quite dreadful. It was tiny, stinky and dark. This one is quite light  especially in the morning for it faces east.

The house down the street is similar, but it is laid out differently. The bedrooms in that house, for example, are on the right side with a bathroom in between. There's a living room, dining room and kitchen on the left side. There's a fireplace in the living room. All of which I remember, and none of which are/were in this duplex. So I don't know what's going on. It's possible that we didn't live in the house down the street, but I stayed there during the day while my mother worked. But maybe not..

I don't know.

This is the house down the street I remember:

There was a big field behind it. Maybe we lived there briefly before moving to the duplex or maybe it was the other way around.

The confusion is part of the reason why I'm working on a mapping project as an artistic way to remember or forget. I've lived in so many places in my life, and honestly, I don't remember half of them, or if I do, it's just snapshots divorced from locations.

We'll see if another one turns up in a real estate listing.

*the tracks mostly aren't there any more, but like most California agricultural towns, the railroad was critically important to moving produce and people and for the development of the town and region.  In this case, the tracks which ran north and south divided the town in two. West of the tracks was Tigertown, very much a working class area of very modest homes and industrial/equipment plants. East of the tracks was something better, whiter, and much more at ease.  When we lived in the duplex above, we lived just west of the tracks -- close enough for me to hear the whistles and the clanging bells in the morning, but not quite close enough to see the engines and cars passing by.

Living in Tigertown didn't bother me, but then I was three, what did I know? Moving across the tracks was more of a culture shock than one might think for a white boy, but there you are. Certain assumptions were made by our new neighbors since we had come from "over there" and given the fact that my mother wasn't married, well, you can just imagine...

Again, though, it's another story for another time.

I Lived Here

This was my father's house in Iowa. It had been his father's, and for years in the 20s, 30s, and 40s it was used as a family "spare" house. Many members of my father's large family lived here for varying lengths of time until the late 40s when my father and his youngest sister movedin permanently.

The small window on the first floor is where the front door to the house and then to the upstairs apartment was. I'm not entirely sure why it was closed off. Now the main entrance to the house is on the side under the porch roof, where the downstairs apartment entrance was back in the day, but it makes getting to the stairs awkward as hell, as they are still where they were when my father lived there.

It was a very old house, or at least parts of it were. It started as a two room single story house perhaps as early as the 1840s. It was gradually added to in the 19th century, gaining a number of wings and a second story. Later, long after my father died and the house was sold in 1969, an extension was added  to the back of the kitchen, and even a two car garage was built beyond that. It appears to be quite a large house now, but I know it is not.

I lived there from the time I was born until my parents' divorce, essentially only 9 months, though I returned to Iowa in 1961 and 62 for a couple of months in the summer each year. The first summer I stayed in the upstairs apartment that had recently been vacated by the death of my father's youngest sister who had lived there for decades. At the time, the house was divided into two apartments. I don't know when that happened, but it had to have been no later than about 1930, as I've found many records showing various members of my father's family living in the separate units upstairs and downstairs.

The second summer, I stayed at a hotel down the street because my father had rented out the upstairs apartment.

The house looks large, but it's not. The rooms are tiny. Unfortunately, the interior pictures in the listing are very poor, and it is difficult to gain any sense of orientation and size of the rooms. When I first saw them, I couldn't figure out where in the house most of the pictures were taken. After studying them a little while, however, some of the pictures of the interior began to make sense.

For example: this is a picture of what had been my sister's downstairs bedroom when I was and infant and was transformed into a cramped living room when I visited as a pre-teen.

The room is about 10' X 11' in size. The three panel window was added by my father to please my mother. It's somewhat similar to the front window of the house where my mother grew up in California. 

The doorway on the right leads to the stair hall, but it was been closed off when the house was split into two. Apparently it was reopened when the house was renovated and turned back into a single family residence several years after my father died.

This picture is of what was the living room when I was an infant and the dining room when I was a pre-teen.

The room is about 10' X 12' or a little smaller. The windows were added by my father to please my mother. The first time she saw this house, she complained that it was dark and musty. There was so little light and air that she said she was depressed and she wouldn't live there. Not only that, the rooms were so small and so badly arranged, it was a nightmare just to get around. For example, the door to the right of the windows leads to a small entrance hall, and the door to the right of that leads to the room that had been a living room or a bedroom. 

This is a similar view taken by my sister shortly before my birth. 

Parental units having a gimlet before dinner? Who knows?

This is a downstairs bedroom. It's about 8' X  10'. It was my parents' room when I was an infant, my father's alone after they divorced. Behind the camera is a bathroom. 
There may be another bedroom beyond the bathroom. I have vague memories of another room there, entered from the kitchen(?) that was used for storage. And then when I went back to the house after my father died, I seem to recall that there was a bed in there together with other bedroom furnishings, and I thought my father had been sleepng in there during his final illness. But my memories of it are not clear.

This may be a picture of that room:

It may also be a room in another house altogether.

This is the west side of the house

The upper window in the projecting bay was originally one of those Gothic windows like you see in the well-known Grant Wood painting of an Iowa couple. 

You wouldn't know it from the outside of the house, of course, and as far as I can tell from the pictures in the listing, you can't see the Gothic arch from the inside of the house anymore either, but when I stayed in the upstairs apartment in the early 60s, indeed, the interior window frame was still in place, and its resemblance to the window in Grant Wood's painting was plain to see. The woman in the painting rather resembles my Aunt Alice too, but that's another story for another time. 

I saw the painting at the Art Institute in Chicago that summer, and I was quite taken with Wood's technique. I remember being surprised at how large the painting was, as I had only seen illustrations in books previously, and I assumed it was fairly small. I mentioned to my father that the window was similar to the one upstairs in his own house, and he said that the house -- or that part of the house -- was probably built at about the same time, which I would much later learn was the 1880s. 

An this is the north side as it is now

The extension on the back of the house is much larger now than it was when my father lived there. The kitchen and a breakfast room area had been added to the first floor of the house -- I'd guess in the 1930s -- but it only extended as far as the double doors onto the deck in the picture above. There were no double doors or deck at that time; there was only a window on that side and a back door at the rear of the house onto a utility porch with steps out to the back yard. 

There's now a double garage beyond the rear extension. There was no garage when my father lived there. He parked on the street. 

The house is listed for sale at a discount price. Not sure why the price is so low except that in this neighborhood, many houses sell for much less. This part of Iowa is not very prosperous, and nearly all the houses on this street -- houses which had once belonged to my grandfather -- are old and dilapidated. This house is actually in better shape than many of the others nearby, but the last time I saw it in person in the early 80s, it was a wreck, painted dark brown and very broody looking. Its current yellow-ness is cheery by comparison.

Again, this is a memory exercise. Finding other houses I've lived in now listed for sale is something of a quest because I've got to remember addresses as well. This one was relatively easy. Others will prove more of a challenge.

Thursday, July 11, 2019


So Jeffrey Epstein is in the news again and "questions" are being asked about his connections with various pols including the incumbent president. Hm. Well. Who'd a thunk it, right?

"Questions" are being asked about his money, too. Where does it come from? How much does he have? Or used to have. Or something.

And what about the girls? All those girls? Where did they come from? Where did they go? And what was done to them? Why has he been allowed to get away with so much?

And will this sex scandal finally bring down Trump?

The answer to that last question is "Probably not." Which gives you a clue to the sclerotic state of our politics.

I've mentioned a few times that I live not far from Epstein's New Mexico ranch, the Zorro Ranch it's called. For years we'd pass by it on the way to Santa Fe, and we had no idea he owned it. His "hacienda" was perched on the edge of a mesa quite a distance from the road, and it seemed to us that the place must be some kind of religious retreat, so we called it "the Monastery." Even from a distance, it's obviously huge.

The ranch itself is an 8,000 acre working ranch with some rather exotic cattle. There's a little village with barns and I assume quarters for the hands. About a year ago, another barn -- or is it mother-in-law's quarters? -- was built about a mile away from the main ranch/village complex.  Epstein's abode on the mesa is also about a mile away from the village in the opposite direction.

The video posted above gives some idea of just how ugly and tasteless the hacienda on the mesa is. It may be enormous, but it is very, very ugly. Supposedly, some of the trysts arranged for Epstein's clients took place there, but who, when and how is something of a mystery. When we pass by the place at night, we rarely see any lights on, but a couple of weeks ago, it was lit up like I don't recall ever seeing before. Somebody must have been home, eh?

We have seen staff coming and going from the place occasionally -- not often -- driving their working pick-ups and such. Only one time did we see a modest convoy of black Denalis or Escalades passing through the gates. There may have been three, possibly four cars. It was more than a year ago.

There is what appears to be a helipad up on the mesa beside the hacienda, but we've never seen a helicopter going to or from the place. Supposedly there is an airstrip, too, but we've never seen an airplane headed toward or away from the ranch, either.

We can see two microwave towers on the ranch from the road. I don't know why they are there, but I suppose if there are important guests, they would need to be able to communicate with their people, no? The thing is, there don't seem to be guests very often. So far as we can tell, there is hardly ever anybody up on the mesa.

But there is something going on vis a vis the whole Epstein story being suddenly renewed. Of course, the summer news hole is always filled with sharks and missing white women and... sex scandals. There seems to be nothing new in this particular re-telling of Jeffrey Epstein's proclivity for underage female companionship, but "questions" are being asked this time around that didn't get asked last time.

I doubt it will lead anywhere because too many Men Who Matter might be soiled. On the other hand, this effort to throw Epstein to the wolves --- again --- seems tailor-made to protect some of those men from scrutiny.

Could one of them be named Trump? Time will tell.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

I Lived Here

Nearly 60 years ago, I lived in this modest house in a fancy neighborhood in California.

The front and driveway and garage haven't changed a whole lot, though they aren't quite the same. The house is now gray with brick porch and trim; it was white when I lived there, and the brick was painted gray. There were no planters in front, nor were there any round stepping stones.

The house was built in 1939. There were two bedrooms, one bath, an enclosed back porch leading to a knotty-pine paneled family room, a kitchen, laundry room, dining room and living room with fireplace when I lived there. Since the early 1960s, the house has undergone an extensive remodeling. The family room added onto the back of the house in (probably) the early 1950s was demolished and a new much larger addition was built. Two more bedrooms and baths, a kitchenette and a smallish living room were added, pretty clearly intended as another unit. The screened patio attached to the garage was also demolished to make room for the larger addition. The many fruit trees in the back must have been uprooted. I recall apricot, peach, plum, pear, orange and lemon trees.

These pictures are from a recent real estate listing for this house. The front part (the original house) hasn't changed much since I lived there, except for the kitchen and laundry room, and essentially is the same as when it was built in 1939.

The living and dining rooms from the front entrance. The rooms were painted off white, not HGTV gray-green, when we lived there; the fireplace did not have an insert, there were no can lights in the ceiling and there was a rather forlorn crystal chandelier in the dining room. Otherwise, even the furniture arrangement is practically the same as when I lived there. Is this the current owner's furnishings or has the house been staged for sale? I don't know. May be a bit of both.

Another view of the living room showing the little entrance area. The stained glass octagonal window was clear glass, otherwise, the same as when I lived there. We had a pair of wingback chairs by the windows, the usual table and lamp in between. The lower part of the windows had muslin café curtains.

In the dining room as mentioned, there was a crystal chandelier, and the furnishings were arranged pretty much as you see here. Instead of a credenza we had an "Early American" hutch, and the table and chairs were sort of "Shaker" -- very simple (round) table with four ladder-back, rush-seat, chairs. In the living room on the far wall by the entrance was a desk and bookshelf.

The glass door led to what was called "A Room" -- what had been a back porch when the house was built. It had been enclosed some time in the 1950s, and served as a passage to the added on family room beyond. I recall it flooded a couple of times, but I don't remember whether there was a roof leak or water seeped from below. There was a window in "A Room" so there was some natural light in the dining room. What seems to have happened since then is that the addition of two bedrooms and baths plus other rooms to make what appears to be an apartment has cut off any natural light to the dining room.

From this angle, you can see a bit of the kitchen, which I will not detail because it's changed so much, it's almost unrecognizable in current pictures. When I lived in this house, the kitchen was straight out of 1939, very simple and plain. We had a portable dishwasher, though, so there was that.

This was the front bedroom. Although it's set up as an office here, it's not hard to see how it would have been as a bedroom.

A view toward the hallway. Essentially nothing's changed except the paint color. The shelves in the hallway are original.

Except for new fixtures, flooring, and window, the bathroom is pretty much the same. Small, utilitarian, the way they were back then.

The second bedroom. Identical arrangement when I lived there. Another view below:

Could be my room spiffed up somewhat after nearly 60 years.

The rest of the pictures in the listing are of the addition and the remnants of the backyard, so I won't post any. They evoke no memories because when I lived there, the back of the house was completely different.

I like most of what's been done to the place -- except for the addition -- and I wouldn't mind living there again. It evoked other houses where I'd lived, particularly a cozy place from about the same era in West Covina,  and another house in Los Angeles County that had similar qualities though it was built in 1954 (based on plans from the 1930s, I'm sure).

Every now and then, I check to see if former places I've lived are for sale to see if I can snag some images of what they're like now. Houses always evoke strong memories for me, and as my memory deteriorates (another topic for another time) it's more and more important for me to retain as much memory as I can. This particular post is an exercise in memory. Not just of the house but of the neighborhood, my schools, friends, activities and so forth.

I've started working on an art series I call "The Mapping Project" which is a series of graphic interpretations of 20 places I've lived over the years. It's still percolating in my mind, though I've done some preliminary sketches. I hope I can complete it. It will be mostly abstract, but here and there, some elements may be nearly photographic.

We didn't live in this house very long -- 1960-62, perhaps, though we may have moved in late 1961 -- but it made a strong impression on me and there were some... interesting... events associated with it (including a fire, but we'll deal with that another time). The house is listed for sale at a rather breathtaking $589,000 with a pending offer. It's not by any means the most expensive in the neighborhood, but it's up there. Housing price inflation in parts of California is insane.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Couse House Taos

What a day.

Those who doubt climate change should have been here yesterday Saturday when a chilly monsoon storm enveloped northern and central New Mexico leaving us surprised and wet and shivery if we weren't bundled up like ticks. The weather forecast was sunny-ish and warm. Day before the temperatures were in the 90s. Not so yesterday Saturday.

The trip up to Taos from our place takes about 2 ½ hours on a good day. Yesterday it was closer to three thanks to the rain that stayed with us or followed or preceded us pretty much the whole way.  Sometimes light, sometimes torrential, it rained and rained and rained. There were plenty of thunder claps and flashes of lightning, a few of which fell quite close to the road we were taking, the Low Road to Taos it's sometimes called, as opposed to the less traveled but better known High Road.

The Low Road to Taos back in the day
The lady in the first car looks thoroughly exhausted, and I bet she is. The road is a little better now and cars are a bit more comfortable, but it can still be a challenge to get up the hill to Taos along the Rio Grande -- which was flowing deep and fast and brown, full of rafters intent on running the many rapids, no matter the weather, before the end of the Fourth of July weekend.

So we went, and we went for a specific purpose, to attend the opening of an exhibition of photographs of Pueblo (primarily Taos Pueblo) Indians used as models by E. I. Couse, in the early 20th century.

It was.... interesting... There were a couple of dozen photos in what's called the Luna Chapel which E. Irving Couse had used as a studio until he built a new one onto the side of the house. Two models were featured over and over again, Ben Lujan and Jerry Mirabal.

With a few exceptions, they were posed crouching. The crouching Indian was a consistent theme of Couse's and it would show up in the works of a variety of other Taos and Western artists and probably still does, though I haven't really checked recently. The Cowboys and Indians genre is very popular in Southwest, but it's really not my thing.

The Couse House is a rambling adobe and frame house perched up on a tiny mesa top down the hill from Mabel Dodge Lujan's Los Gallos place where we've stayed a number of times over the years and where we feel surprisingly at home. Perhaps in our previous lives we were guests of Mabel or maybe it is something else.

The Couse House has been preserved by the artist's granddaughter pretty much as it was when he died in 1936, whereas Mabel's place has gone through a number of overhauls and other uses since she passed in 1962, most notoriously its phase as Dennis Hopper's Mud Palace.

Couse was an original member of the Taos Society of Artists, arriving not long after the artist "discoverers" of Taos, Ernest Blumenschein and Bert Phillips whose broken wagon wheel made them linger in Taos while it was fixed in 1898.

Couse had a long time association with Joseph Henry Sharp, whose studio is on the premises, and who, in Paris at the Academie Julien suggested to Blumenschein and Phillips, and later to E. Irving Couse, that they head West and check out Taos and New Mexico for a breath of fresh air and the endless inspiration of the people (especially the Indians), the land and the sky. And so they did. Sharp had been in the area earlier -- I think 1893 -- but he hadn't settled there, nor would he, so far as I can tell, for many years after the initiation of the artist colony which became the Taos Society and its successors. In fact, though Sharp had a house and studio adjacent to Couse's place, he may never have actually "settled" in Taos at all. He may have been more like Blumy, who had a house and studio of his own in Taos and spent summers there, but did not "settle" until 1919, long after his first visit, and even then, he was on the road a great deal of the time he lived in Taos.

Much art would be -- and is today -- made in Taos, but then and now, it has to be sold somewhere else. Taos is today a small town (abt. 5000 population) and back then, it was tiny. It could be and sometimes still is a challenge to get to and get out of. The market for Art was elsewhere, and to a large extent, it still is. One may create there (as I have done on occasion), but if one is serious about selling (as I am not) one must locate other places for outlets -- even though now there are lots of galleries in Taos.

The "crouching Indian" theme was what drew us to Taos over the weekend.  Sure enough, we weren't disappointed. There were dozens of photos taken by Couse of his Indian models crouching by the fire, crouching in the grass, crouching along the trail, crouching, crouching, crouching, and in his studio, there were more prints and paintings of crouching Indians examining pots, wearing bizarre and un-Pueblo-ish costumes, and the last painting Couse was working on, still on its easel, barely sketched in oil, shows yet another crouching Indian. It was his thing.

I took few pictures while we were there and this is not the painting he was working on when he died. It is an example, however, of his crouching Indian genre.

Ms. Ché wrote and read a Crouching Indian poem during one of her sojourns in Taos, and she's going back for a writer's conference on the upcoming weekend. I might go over to the Blumenschein house just to compare...

Meanwhile the new It-Boy in Western art, Mark Maggiori, sold one one of his cowboy paintings at the Scottsdale auction for almost $100,000 with fees. Before last year, he was barely a blip on the artscene. How quickly they rise!