Ernest Blumenschein papers, 1873-1964

Blumenschein, Ernest Leonard, b. 1874 d. 1960
Painter, Illustrator
Active in Taos, N.M.

The papers of Ernest Leonard Blumenschein in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2009. The bulk of the papers have been scanned, and total 2,772 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.


Collection size: 2.1 linear ft.

Collection Summary: The papers of southwest painter and illustrator Ernest Blumenschein measure 2.1 linear feet and date from 1873-1964. The collection documents Blumenschein's artistic career, his relationship with his wife and daughter, his love of the American southwest, and his involvement in the art community of Taos, New Mexico. Found are biographical materials, personal and professional correspondence, scattered personal business records, writings, a large amount of juvenilia artwork, and photographs of artwork.

Biographical/Historical Note: Ernest Blumenschein (1874-1960) was a painter, illustrator, and violinist in Taos, N.M. Besides his artistic talents, Ernest Blumenschein was a skilled violin player, and was awarded a scholarship to the Cincinnati College of Music. In 1892, Blumenschein auditioned for the New York National Conservatory, and was chosen by Anton Dvorak for the role of first violin. With the income from playing violin, Blumenschein attended classes at the Art Students League. In 1892, Ernest Blumenschein traveled to Paris to study at the Académie Julian. While in Paris, he met Joseph Henry Sharp who inspired Blumenschein with his stories and sketches of the American southwest, particularly the Taos area. He returned to American in 1896, rented a studio with another Académie Julian student Bert Phillips, and began a successful career as a commercial illustrator working for magazines such as Century, Harper's, Scribner's, and McClure's. Ernest and his wife, Mary returned ton New York, after the birth of their daughter, Helen; they taught at the Pratt Institute. In 1919, the family moved permanently to Taos. Later, Blumenschein co-founded the Taos Society of Artists and became part of the Taos art colony.

Donated 1971 by Helen Greene Blumenschein, daughter of Ernest Blumenschein.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

How to Use this Collection

  • Read the Finding Aid for this digitized collection
  • The bulk of this collection was digitized in 2009 and is available via the Archives of American Art's website. Materials which have not been scanned include photographs of artwork, negatives, news clippings, and all but a few printed reproductions of artwork.
  • Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
  • For more information on using the Archives’ resources, see the FAQ or Ask Us.

Also in the Archives

Related Materials

Found in the Archives of American Art is a small collection of "Ernest Blumenschein letters and transcripts", available on microfilm reel 3281, and consisting of eleven letters between Blumenschein and Thomas Gilcrease, a letter between Helen Blumenschein and Gilcrease, and the transcript of a 1958 radio interview with Blumenschein.
The Fray AngÔelico ChÔavez History Library in Santa Fe, New Mexico holds papers related to Ernest Blumenschein, Mary Greene Blumenschein, and Helen Greene Blumenschein.