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Special Visitors | the Art of Victor Higgins

by James Nottage, Vice President and Chief Curatorial Officer | May 20, 2014

Victor Higgins family    
Jack and Virginia Higgins visiting the Victor Higgins exhibit at the museum.  Jack is holding a childhood painting done by his uncle at the family farm near Shelbyville.
       
A leading American artist and key member of the Taos Society of Artists, W. Victor Higgins (1884-1949) was a favorite for our founder, Harrison Eiteljorg. As a result, the museum’s collection of the artist’s work is strong, including oils from much of his long career. His depictions of the Southwestern landscape, Taos Pueblo, and of Native people are highly appreciated by scholars and general visitors. Eiteljorg even collected brushes, palettes, and other furnishings from Higgins’ studio. Part of the appeal for him was that Victor Higgins was born and raised in Shelbyville, Indiana.

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of greeting Higgins’ nephew Jack Higgins, his wife Virginia, and their friends Debbie and Rick Williams. Debbie and Rick have lovingly restored the Higgins farmstead, furnished it with antiques, and brought a painting to show us of young chicks at the farm, created when Victor Higgins was a child. Jack remembers his uncle and the automobile he used while painting in the field in New Mexico.

We had a delightful visit. Over the years, descendants of many artists have visited the museum, including members of the families of E. I. Couse, Bert Phillips, and others. It reminds us that we are not that far removed from the lives of artists who only seem to be of long-ago. And, of course, their work still lives at the Eiteljorg Museum.

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