Nicolai Fechin: A Taos Homecoming

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Marking the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the birth of renowned Russian-American artist Nicolai Ivanovich Fechin, Taos Art Museum and Fechin House has arranged a special “Homecoming Exhibition”. Through August 26th, 2007, Nicolai Fechin: A Taos Homecoming will be displayed in Fechin’s Taos residence. This notable art exhibition features 22 pieces by Nicolai Fechin, many of which were created during his brilliant tenure in Taos. These paintings have not been seen in Taos for at least a generation and have come home thanks to a generous loan from the Stark Museum of Art in Orange, Texas, founded by HJ Lutcher and Nelda Stark.

An architectural and sculptural masterpiece in wood, adobe and glass, Fechin House was built by Fechin between the years of 1927 and 1933. Having fled in the aftermath of the Russian Bolshevik Revolution, Fechin came to Taos in 1926 by way of New York City. Though Fechin’s American career was considerably advanced by his presence in the nation’s commercial capital, his health suffered dearly. As was fashionable at the time, he resorted to the high alpine climate of Taos for recovery.

Hosted by the patroness and author Mabel Dodge Luhan, Nicolai Fechin and his family promptly fell in love with the ambiance and spirituality of Taos. Indeed Taos has a way of bringing out a certain intensity in individuals of artistic sensibilities, and in the sublimely talented Russian émigré artist, this was certainly the case. During the years Fechin lived in Taos, he created an impressive body of masterworks in oil paint, charcoal and wood.

Chief among these masterworks was his Taos residence itself. Rigorous training at Petersburg Imperial Academy molded Fechin as a multi-talented figure, reminiscent of those active during the European Renaissance. Tolstoi once said something on the order of: “give a Russian a knife and he can carve either a spoon or a house.” Fechin chose to carve a house of the utmost artistic import; though, incidentally, he also carved a spoon—still on display in the kitchen of Fechin House.

Fechin: My Daughter Eya

Nicolai Fechin My Daughter Eya
Oil on canvas 17" x 13"

In Russia, the tradition of the dom muzei, or house museum, is a time-honored one. Fechin’s daughter, the dancer Eya Fechin Branham, was instrumental in restoring her father’s beloved Taos home and creating the Fechin Institute, a non-profit organization devoted to the preservation of Nicolai Fechin’s rich artistic legacy. In 2002, upon her passing, Taos Art Museum acquired the historic property and began curating the house and showcasing art from its own permanent collection of early Taos art.
Today Taos Art Museum and Fechin House is one of the truly special places in Taos that should not be missed. Visitors to the museum are presented with a rich, multi-faceted cultural experience. In addition to observing, firsthand, the graces of Fechin’s hand-carved furnishings and unique asymmetrical architectural designs, one has the opportunity to see important works representing all the founding members of the influential Taos Society of Artists painters.
The experience of “life at a higher level” is always enhanced by a glimpse into the wonders of the physical and artistic world which Nicolai Ivanovich Fechin created about him in Taos.

Taos Art Museum and Fechin House
227 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos, NM 87571
505·758·2690
www.taosartmuseum.org


Thanks to Sara Jenkins
Programs & Education Coordinator

Originally appeared in
The Collector’s Guide to Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque - Volume 21


Related Pages

An Introduction to Taos article
Historic Houses and Sites in Taos article
1998 Centennial of the Taos Art Colony article
The E I Couse Home and Studio in Taos article


Collector’s Resources

Santa Fe

Gerald Peters Gallery + Peters Projects | 505.954.5700
Nedra Matteucci Galleries | 505-982-4631
Zaplin Lampert Gallery | 505.982.6100

Taos

Taos Art Museum at Fechin House | 575-758-2690

RESOURCE LISTS UPDATED WHEN VIEWED | ARTICLE CONTENT REVISED October 14, 2009

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