Cobbs Auctioneer, Peterborough, NH, 2003
Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
Bozeman Trail Gallery, Sheridan, WY
One of the most loved and respected members of the Taos Society of Artists, E. Martin Hennings, was also one of its youngest members. He joined the group in 1917. Two years later it disbanded. His time was short in the group, but he had made his mark, even as he stayed in Taos, New Mexico, to continue painting its people and beauty. Born in New Jersey and raised in Chicago, Hennings was studying art in Europe during the prelude to World War I. Fleeing the continent via Holland, he returned to the United States, where he worked briefly in Kansas, Massachusetts and his home city of Chicago. In 1917, he was approached by wealthy collector Carter Harrison Jr., who offered an intriguing opportunity that was also offered to Walter Ufer: go to Taos for a year to paint and Harrison would guarantee support and purchase of the artwork produced.
“In 1919,” Hennings wrote, “I took stock of myself and realized my salvation was to free myself of any commercial thought and for at least three years to paint exclusively for my own development. With the idea of finding myself, I returned to Taos and worked there for five consecutive years. It was during the third year that three of my paintings took prizes. Of course they brought recognition. My standpoint is that art is either good or bad and its school has not a great deal to do with it. In every picture I expect the fundamentals to be observed and these I term: draftsmanship, design, form, rhythm, color. Art must of necessity be the artist’s own reaction to nature and his personal style is governed by his own temperament, rather than by a style molded through the intellect.”
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