James Spencer Russell in Taos, New Mexico, Part Two

As we prepare photographs for our book we are delving a little deeper in Satch’s collection.  The two watercolor sketches presented in this post were most likely made circa Summer of 1935, when Jim enrolled in the University of New Mexico and was studying in Taos, New Mexico.

The first work is of the San Francisco di Asis Mission Church in Ranchos de Taos.   As compared to many other artists, Russell chose a completely different perspective for this study.  Rather than make the church itself front and center, he chose to put it in the background and show the life and buildings around the church.  O’Keeffe made her iconic painting of the church’s rear buttresses in 1930-1931 and Paul Strand was making his life changing photographs of the church in 1932.

The second work is of a Taos Pueblo woman.  We don’t know if he painted her at the pueblo or in town.  It is a simple composition that reflects the beauty of the woman and her native dress.

We only wish that we had some writings from Jim about his time in Taos.  It would have been interesting to know who he interacted and studied with and where he traveled.

Satch and I have a love for Taos, its people and landscape.  Having these pieces from Jim when he was studying in Taos is special.

Part One is here.

Click on the paintings to enlarge.

San Francisco de Assisi Mission Church, Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico

San Francisco de Assisi Mission Church, Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, circa 1935

Taos Pueblo Woman, Taos, New Mexico

Taos Pueblo Woman, Taos, New Mexico, circa 1935

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