James Nottage, Eiteljorg vice president and chief curatorial officer Gund/Western Art
| Feb 27, 2014
Catharine Carter Critcher
Oil on canvas, 1928
Gift Courtesy of Harrison Eiteljorg
During the first week of March, one of the notable Taos paintings in our collection will be going off of exhibit. Why? Change in the museum is constant and motivated by many factors. Sometimes we have an opportunity to show something new, sometimes a work goes off of exhibit for conservation treatment, and sometimes highly important works are loaned to other museums for traveling exhibitions. Such is the case with Catharine Critcher’s, Pueblo Family, an oil painted in 1928.
Catharine Critcher (1868-1964) was the only female member of the Taos Society of Artists. She first visited New Mexico in 1922 and was asked, along with E. Martin Hennings, to join this group of prominent artists in 1924. For several years, she went to Taos each summer and is reported to have said that “Taos is unlike any place God ever made. . . . There are models galore and no phones, the artists all live in these attractive funny little adobe houses away from the world, food, foes and friends.” Critcher traveled to the Southwest in 1928 and spent two months sketching and painting among the Hopi in Arizona. She was best known for portraits along with some floral works and landscapes. Critcher studied art in New York, Washington, D.C., and Paris. In France, she operated an art school for four years, but returned to the United States to teach at the Corcoran School of Art. The same year she joined the Taos Society she opened her own school in Washington, D.C., where she worked until 1940.
Pueblo Family is one of Critcher’s best known Southwestern paintings. By including portrait and still life elements it combines those genre for which the artist is best known. The first stop on the painting’s up-coming journey will not be that far away. Eloquent Objects: Georgia O'Keeffe and Still-Life Painting in New Mexico opens at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (October 30, 2014- January 25, 2015) and then travels to the Tacoma Museum of Art (March 1, 2015-June , 2015). Upon returning to the Eiteljorg Museum, Pueblo Family will be placed back in the Art of the American West gallery.