Catharine Critcher (1868-1964)
The only woman to become a member of the Taos Society of Artists, Catharine Critcher was a highly-trained and well-traveled professional artist by the time of her first visit to Taos, New Mexico, in 1922. It did not take long for the spell of Taos to take hold of the artist.
Catharine Critcher was born in Virginia, the daughter of a U.S. Congressman. In 1890 she studied in New York at the Cooper Union School of Design, followed by a year at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. After several years of working as a portrait artist, Critcher went to Paris for studies at the Academié Julian and exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1911. Upon her return to the U.S. she became an instructor at the Corcoran School of Art, and in 1924 in Washington D.C. she founded the Critcher School of Painting and Applied Arts, serving as its director until 1940. In 1922, Catharine made her first visit to Taos and returned regularly throughout the 1920s. She claimed it was like no other place in the world. From Taos, she would make excursions into Arizona and in 1928 spent two months on the Hopi Reservation. Due to her wide-ranging travels and subject matter, Critcher’s work includes a variety of portrait subjects from eastern urbanites to Native Americans, as well as landscapes, florals and figures.