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Ernest Blumenschein papers, 1873-1964

Blumenschein, Ernest Leonard, 1874-1960

Painter, Illustrator

Representative image for Ernest Blumenschein papers, 1873-1964

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 Information

Size: 2.1 linear ft.

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.

Related Materials

The Fray AngÔelico ChÔavez History Library in Santa Fe, New Mexico holds papers related to Ernest Blumenschein, Mary Greene Blumenschein, and Helen Greene Blumenschein.


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