E.I. Couse Historic Home and Studio

The Couse Foundation seeks to preserve an historic landmark.

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In 1902, Eanger Irving Couse arrived in Taos, New Mexico where he would become one of the founders of the Taos Art Colony and the first president of the Taos Society of Artists. Now, more than a century later, E.I. Couse's Taos home and studio is being acquired by the newly-formed Couse Foundation in order to preserve this Taos landmark for future generations.

Truly one of the more significant historic structures remaining in Taos today, the home and studio of E.I. Couse stands as a testament to the beginnings of Taos as an American art colony. The studio has remained essentially intact from the time when Couse painted the Native American subjects for which he became famous. The house is still complete with its original furnishings, including the extensive collection of Indian artifacts and the archives of this prominent artist. In this context, visitors to the Couse home may acquire a sense of the artist's life in these remote and simple surroundings and of the regional elements that had enormous impact on his artwork.

Couse Sala

Image: ©2004
The sala of the Couse home
Originally built in 1839
Today it is furnished as it was in 1909 when the
Couses installed wooden floors and benches

E.I. Couse's timeless, iconic paintings of Native Americans are vivid, romantic and mythical. The philosophy behind them was best articulated in a 1916 letter in which the artist stated his goal was "to remove the misconception and contempt in which the Indian has been held, and to show that they are human beings worthy of consideration and a place in the sun." Couse's strong visual portrayals of a proud, noble people engaged in domestic or artistic pursuits, living in spiritual harmony with nature, soon began to attract attention in New York and elsewhere in the US and abroad. Eventually, Couse's Indian pictures became well-known to art connoisseurs and his work appeared regularly in major national and international exhibitions.

Couse Studio

Image: ©2004
Couse added a large studio shortly after buying
the house in 1909. The studio, as seen here,
remains today as it was during his lifetime

Throughout his life, Couse focused on contemplative images of the mystical side of native Americans. In this regard, he did not stress ethnographic accuracy, preferring instead to mix cultural artifacts for aesthetic affect. Couse would convey the significance of ceremonial activity without recreating an actual situation. By depicting a quintessential Indian image, Couse was not attempting to document an event nor create a stereotype, rather, he hoped to enlarge the public's understanding of the spiritual nature of Native Americans through an appreciation of their arts, religion and connectedness to the natural environment.

Because of his paintings, many of which were reproduced over 23 years for the calendars of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, E.I. Couse became known as an image-maker for America. His paintings created a positive and intimate feeling about Native Americans as a people. This point of view was much needed during the period between the Indian wars of the Nineteenth Century and the more recent recognition of the civil rights of all people.

In 1915, Couse and five other artists, all of whom were devoting a major part of their time to painting in Taos, formed the exhibition group called the Taos Society of Artists. The six charter members of the Taos Society of Artists were: E.I. Couse, Joseph H. Sharp, Ernest L. Blumenschein, W. Herbert Dunton, Bert G. Phillips and Oscar E. Berninghaus. Over the next twelve years the TSA's group exhibitions were circulated nationwide. Each member of the TSA had an individual approach to his southwestern subject matter and the exhibitions were heralded by critics for offering a truly American school of art.

Couse Gateway

Image: ©2004
The distinctive gateway to the Couse home is a 1913 addition that reflects the popularity of Mission Style architecture of that period

Couse Canvas

Image: ©2004
A glimpse into
the Couse technique

from the unfinished
canvas that rests on his easel

In 2002, the E.I. Couse Historic Home and Studio was designated a National Trust Associate Site. The Couse Foundation's mission includes stabilizing the historic structures on the Couse property—which include the 1836 Luna family chapel and the studio of Couse's friend and neighbor, Joseph Henry Sharp—and making them accessible to the public. The Foundation's aim is also to create an educational arm to promote historic preservation, art history and other appropriate regional studies.

The Couse Home and Studio is located at 146 Kit Carson Road in Taos, New Mexico. Arrangements to visit from May through October can be made by calling 575-751-0369 or 575-737-0105.


Contributions to the Couse Foundation remote are tax-deductible and can be sent to PO Box 1436, Taos, NM 87571

Thanks to Virginia Couse Leavitt , granddaughter of E. I. Couse. Mrs Leavitt is an art historian and the author of Eanger Irving Couse, Image Maker for America (Albuquerque, 1991).

Originally appeared in
The Collector’s Guide to Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque - Volume 17

Related Pages

How It Began: The Santa Fe and Taos Arts article
Historic Houses and Sites in Taos article

How It Began: The Santa Fe and Taos Arts article
Historic Houses and Sites in Taos article

Collector’s Resources


The Albuquerque Museum | 505-243-7255

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Addison Rowe Gallery | 505-982-1533
Adobe Gallery | 505-955-0550
Gerald Peters Gallery + Peters Projects | 505.954.5700
Nedra Matteucci Galleries | 505-982-4631
The Owings Gallery | 505-982-6244
Zaplin Lampert Gallery | 505.982.6100


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