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Barbara Latham (1896–1989)

Taos Indian Riders at Dusk, c. 1940, oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches

December 20, 2020

Barbara Latham studied at the Pratt Institute in New York City and after graduating in 1919, she spent several summers studying with modernist painter Andrew Dasburg ar the Art Students League Summer School. In her early career, Latham began designing Christmas cards for a publishing company in New York.

Latham arrived in Taos, New Mexico, just in time for the San Geronimo Feast Day at Taos Pueblo in 1925. Victor Higgins, an established Taos artist, introduced Latham to print maker Howard Cook, who had arrived in Taos in 1926. The two later married and settled in Taos for several months before their return to the East. Latham's career was profoundly affected by two fellowships that Howard Cook won from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 1932 and 1934. The grants enabled her not only to explore new subject matter and techniques, but also to gather imagery that she later incorporated into color lithograph illustrations for children's books. Latham also generated etchings, wood engravings, lithographs and linoleum cuts, as well as paintings in egg tempera, watercolor and oil. In 1934 Latham's work was exhibited in a one person show at the Weyhe Gallery in New York City, then the premier venue for printmakers in the United States.

In 1938, Latham returned to the subject matter that first captivated her in 1925, creating poetic paintings in oil and egg tempera of the Taos Pueblo Rabbit hunt, and landscape and genre scenes unique to the Taos social environment. Latham's artwork has been collected and exhibited by The Whitney Museum of American Art, National Academy of Design, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Library of Congress, Museum of New Mexico and The Harwood Museum of Art, among others.

"I had lived under the brilliant western sky all summer, but I had never experienced such brilliance, contrasted with such fragrant desert … I loved Taos from the moment I stepped off the train."

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Barbara Latham (1896–1989) Taos Indian Riders at Dusk, c. 1940, oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches

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Barbara Latham (1896–1989) Taos Indian Riders at Dusk, c. 1940, oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches

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The Grove, d. 1924, oil on canvas, 15 7/8 x 20 1/8 inches, TOG6462

Coming from Behind, oil on canvas, 14 x 18 inches, TOG5233/OC8-434*CV

Radishes from My Garden, pastel on paper, 11 1/2 x 15 3/4 inches, OC295-4

Ice Skaters, stencil print with watercolor on paper, 11 1/4 x 14 3/8 inches, OC116-3

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Mexican Kitchen, d. 1932, wood engraving, 6 5/8 x 8 5/8 inches, OC295-6

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The Musician, wood engraving, 7 3/4 x 9 1/8 inches, TOG5949

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