Art & Art History ETDs

Publication Date



In the decade following the Armory Show of 1913, New York City lost its appeal for many painters. Disillusioned by the rivalry between various artists’ groups, the attitude of a smug public and prevented from visiting Europe by the outbreak of the First World War, many artists migrated from New York to explore various regions of the United States in order to find new and stimulating subjects to paint. A number of New York artists, attracted by the landscape, the colorful Indian and Mexican population and the democratic exhibition policies of the museum of New Mexico, visited the art colonies at Taos and Santa Fe. Among these painters were Robert Henri, George Wesley Bellows and Leon Kroll. Robert Henri was among the most famous of the New York artists to visit New Mexico. An acknowledged painter and teacher, he was invented to Santa Fe in 1916 by Dr. Edgar L. Hewett, Director of the School of American Research, to give suggestions concerning the exhibition programs of the fledgling Museum of New Mexico Art Gallery. Henri spent the summers of 1916, 1917, and 1922 in Santa Fe, executing over forty paintings of Indians and Mexicans. He also suggested an open-door exhibition policy for the Museum of New Mexico Art Gallery, which was later adopted, and encouraged a number of his friends and students in New York to visit the Southwest. George Wesley Bellows and Leon Kroll were the first of the Henri circle to visit New Mexico. Bellows spent a month in Santa Fe in the autumn of 1917 while enroute to New York from a summer vacation in California. Kroll, a friend of both Henri and Bellows, spent two weeks in New Mexico in September, 1917. The author’s purpose is to show the impact of the Southwestern experience upon Henri’s, Bellow’s, and Kroll’s later work through a comparison of their New Mexican paintings with examples of their work executed before and after their trips to Santa Fe. The experience exerted the greatest influence upon the paintings Bellows produced during the last eight years of his life. His New Mexican works exhibit a feeling of drama through a contrast between light and dark areas; this characteristic is found in the works Bellows painted in the last period of his career. Kroll’s visit to New Mexico was so brief that it is difficult to determine the influence of his experience upon his later work. Henri was not influenced at all by his stay in the Southwest; instead, his ideas concerning art exerted an influence upon New Mexican painting for years after his last visit to Santa Fe.



Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Department of Art and Art History

First Committee Member (Chair)

Douglas Roland George

Second Committee Member

Van Deren Coke

Third Committee Member

Bainbridge Bunting