Upon his decision to pursue a career in art, Ernest Blumenschein enrolled at the Art Students League in New York. He continued his training at the Academie Julian in Paris, where he met fellow students Joseph Henry Sharp, Bert Phillips, and Eanger Irving Couse, who inspired him to visit the American West. Blumenschein was sent on assignment to Taos by McClure’s magazine in 1898. That famous trip, made with Bert Phillips, led to the founding of the art colony at Taos and later, in 1915, of the Taos Society of Artists. By 1919, he settled permanently in Taos with his wife, Mary, also a successful artist. The couple became the center of cultural life there for the next five decades.
The paintings of Ernest Blumenschein are essential to the creation of the Taos artistic legend, and they continue to provide a contemporary perspective to the magic, myth, and meaning of the Taos experience.