Art and Cultural Goings-On in Taos and Northern New Mexico

June 11, 2017

Joseph Sharp: Studio Gala Opening

Taos: Couse-Sharp Historic Site, 3-5pm
Joseph Sharp: Studio Gala Opening

Grand Opening of the J.H. Sharp Studio June 11, 4PM 2017 

The Couse Foundation announces that there will be a grand opening of the newly restored J. H. Sharp studio at the Couse-Sharp Historic Site on Friday, June 11, 2017.  The public is invited to the opening. 

The free-standing studio, which Sharp used from 1915 until his death in 1953, has undergone several months of extensive renovations.  Between now and the grand opening a major J. H. Sharp interpretive exhibit will be installed; the exhibit will cover Sharp’s artistic career and will include numerous works of art, correspondence, and Native American artifacts that he collected and which appeared in his paintings.  The studio renovation and the exhibition have been made possible through the generous support of The Tia Collection in Santa Fe; additional funding was provided by the Charlie Russell Riders Foundation of Big Fork, Montana.

Sharp was one of the founding members of the Taos Society of Artists (TSA), comprised of E. Irving Couse, Oscar E. Berninghaus, W. Herbert Dunton, Ernest Blumenschein and Bert Phillips. Sharp was the first of the “Taos Six,” as the founding members are known, to visit Taos in 1893, and is often referred to as the “Spiritual Father” of the TSA. In the years that followed the members of the TSA. created one of the most influential art colonies in the United States, making Taos an international art center.  Responding to the light and color of northern New Mexico, these artists created a new American art lexicon based on the unique combination of Native American, Hispanic and Western Anglo-American cultures, set in the dramatic Taos landscape.

Although rendered deaf at an early age, Sharp possessed a courageous character and a positive disposition.  His gentle demeanor and sense of humor endeared him to his Native models, colleagues and friends. Sharp quickly gained notoriety for the visual accuracy of his paintings that deftly captured the soul and humanity of his Native models, representing a shift from prevailing attitudes toward the American Indian.  For many years he divided his time between Montana and Taos. During his lengthy stays at his cabin home at Crow Agency in Montana, Sharp painted many of the Native survivors of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, including members of the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Lakota, Blackfoot, and Crow tribes.  Acutely aware of their rapidly changing customs and practices, and sought to record them lest they disappear entirely.  As Sharp explained in his own words:

“[I try] to present the Indian as he is…mentally as well as physically; not as ephemeral fiction has delighted to picture him, but as a human being….”

The opening of the Sharp studio represents the first permanent exhibition dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the artist J.H. Sharp and the vision and compassion he shared with the world. The exhibition in the spacious two-story adobe studio he designed and built will allow visitors to stand on the site where he created some of his greatest works, read the humor and tenderness in his personal letters, be surrounded by the Native artifacts he collected, and be inspired by his artistic vision.  Additional details about the grand opening will be made available between now and June 11.

The Couse Foundation owns and operates the Couse-Sharp Historic Site, which includes the home and studio of E.I. Couse, the heritage garden designed by his wife, Virginia, and the two studios of his neighbor and fellow artist, Joseph Henry Sharp.


Saturday June 10th, 10AM Lecture at Harwood Museum of Art
J.H. Sharp scholar PETER HASSRICK, Director Emeritus and Senior Scholar, Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Saturday June 10th, 5:30PM Couse Foundation Fifth Biennial Gala and Art Auction
The Couse Foundation will hold its Fifth Biennial Gala Art Auction and Fundraiser.  An elegant evening at El Monte Sagrado Resort, including wine and hors d’oeuvres reception, silent and live auctions, followed by a gourmet dinner and live music.

Sunday June 11th, 3-5PM J.H. Sharp Studio Gala Opening
Joseph Henry Sharp: The Life and Work of an American Legend Join us for the grand opening of his newly restored second studio and the permanent exhibition dedicated to the prolific artist.

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