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Ernest Blumenschein papers, 1873-1964

More Information

Michael Yates
Scope and Contents
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 materials include biographical sketches, school notebooks and curriculum vita, family genealogical materials and other family records, certificates, diplomas, and materials commemorating Blumenschein's election to the National Academy of Design. Also found are scattered ephemera items, such as membership cards, tickets, and travel materials.
Correspondence consists primarily of letters between Blumenschein, his wife Mary, and his daughter Helen. These discuss Blumeschein's career, domestic life, financial matters, Helen's schooling, and travel. Blumenschein's activities during World War I are documented by correspondence with the Committee of Public Information, the Salmagundi Club, and with Aide de Camps of army bases. There are a few letters from other artists and writers including William Glackens, Walt Kuhn, Ward Lockwood, Booth Tarkington, and a long letter from Cass Gilbert.
Scattered personal business records consist of a guest list, a list of Blumenschein works in a private collection, a jury duty certificate, and a car payment record.
Writings include personal, critical, and creative writings. There are writings by Blumenschein about the founding of the Taos Society of Artists and the artistic community of Taos and his memoirs about his first trip to Taos. Additional writings include a satirical discussion of modern art, and essays about artists John Gaw Meem, Joseph Henry Sharp, and Walter Ufer, and discussions of select paintings. Blumenschein also wrote of his travels in Paris, Switzerland, and Pittsburgh, as well as about French churches and cemeteries. Creative writings explore the landscape, life and culture of the American southwest.
Artwork consists primarily of fourteen folders of Blumenschein's illustrations for "Tomfoolery," a handwritten and hand drawn magazine that Blumenschein contributed to in high school. His illustrations for "Tomfoolery" include portraits, caricatures, and sequential art. Also found is one folder of small sketches.
Printed materials about Blumenschein include clippings, exhibition announcements, and exhibition catalogs. There are also brochures related to the Taos Art Colony and a 1902 menu for a Salmagundi Club program/dinner Also found here is a 1915 signed menu from a National Academy of Design event signed by Gifford Beal, George Bellows, and Eugene Spiecher among others.
Photographs include two portraits of Blumenschein and a group portrait of National Academy of Design members that includes Blumenschein. There are also photographs of Blumeschein's artwork and installation views of Blumenschein exhibitions.
The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art by Helen Greene Blumenschein, Ernest Blumenschein's daughter, in 1971.
Related Material
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.
Additionally, the Fray Angélico Chávez 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.
Processing Information
The collection was originally processed upon receipt for microfilming on reels 269 and 270. The entire collection was re-processed and described by Michael Yates in 2008 and digitized in 2009 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.