Ernest Martin Hennings was born in New Jersey but moved to Chicago with his family when he was a child. When he was 12 or 13, he and a friend visited the Art Institute of Chicago and the impulse to make art began to stir in the boy. Hennings studied in Chicago, earned a trip to Munich, and became one of the Taos Founders.
In a 1986 issue of Southwest Art, Ernest Martin Hennings’ daughter said, “Frank Samora was Dad’s favorite model. A young and handsome Indian when they first met, he was also our handyman and besides posing, he helped with irrigation and yard work. He had lunch with us in the kitchen every working day and was a friend as well as a model. Daddy painted him many times and their relationship spanned several decades.”
You can see why Hennings liked Frank Samora as a model. He has a rangy, angular strength, leaning in to life on one hand, and regarding the world with a certain detachment on the other. The folds in Samora’s pastel peach shirt, as Hennings paints them, harmonize with the bits of landscape and sky that surround his model.
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