Harwood Museum of Art Special Collections

Special Collections at the Harwood Museum of Art

Taos Municipal School Historic Collection, the Gus Foster Collection, and the Marylou Reifsnyder Collection.

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The Harwood Museum of Art Special Collections:

Taos Municipal School Historic Collection

The Taos Municipal School Historic Collection is on long-term loan to the Harwood Museum of Art that includes works by numerous Taos artists including, Joseph Henry Sharp, John Ward Lockwood, Joseph Fleck, Ila McAfee, Gene Kloss, Emil Bisttram, Dorothy Brett, Helen Greene Blumenschein, Wolcott Ely, Earl Stroh, Cady Wells, Woody Crumbo, and many others. Once residing in classrooms at Taos High School, the collection was moved to Harwood’s state-of-the-art collection storage facility in 2012, where it is available for study by appointment. Taos Municipal Schools retain full ownership of and rights to the collection. Selections are always on view in the museum and works from the collection are regularly used during the Harwood’s education programs, serving 1000s of youth in Taos County schools.

Gus Foster Collection

The Gus Foster Collection, distinguished by its quality, focus, and depth, includes 391 works by 83 artists including significant collections of Ken Price, Ron Davis, and Larry Bell. The collection is unsurpassed in the number of iconic works created by contemporary artists working in the acclaimed art colony of Taos, New Mexico. In particular, the collection explores in depth the Taos-Los Angeles contemporary art connection.

The many prominent East and West Coast artists represented in this gift speak to the strong connection that Taos has long had with the national and international art worlds. Artists Ken Price and Larry Bell moved permanently from Los Angeles to Taos in the 1970s, followed by Ron Cooper, Gus Foster and – later – Ron Davis. Other artists such as Lee Mullican spent part of each year in Taos. The collection also demonstrates Foster’s commitment to artists who working In Taos including Angie Coleman, Tom Dixon, Cody Riddle, and Suzanne Wiggin.

Learn more about Larry Bell, Ronald Davis and Ken Price in our Contemporary Collection

Marylou Reifsnyder Collection

Marylou Reifsnyder (1922-1990), a virtually self-taught artist, created thousands of paintings, drawings, poems, toys, carvings and books over a thirty-year period. Reifsnyder was drawn to a variety of mystical philosophies. She studied the images of ancient mythology, medieval alchemy, tarot, astrology, Christian theology, and the cosmic fables of William Blake.

A major portion of the Harwood’s Reifsnyder Collection includes The Picture Book of Days which is a set of mixed media works created by the artist from 1967- 1968. Many of the iIllustrations were derived from “automatic” drawings. In automatic drawing, the hand is allowed to move randomly, rather than deliberately, across the paper. Hence the drawing produced may be attributed in part to the subconscious. It was thought by some spiritualists that automatic drawings were created by spirits acting through the artist’s body.

For more information on all Harwood Special Collections.

See all Harwood Museum exhibits.

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