The Couse-Sharp Historic Site

Eanger Irving Couse, b 1866- d 1936, Joseph Henry Sharp, b 1859- d 1953
146 Kit Carson Rd, Taos, NM 87571 - view on Google Maps
575-751-0369
“I would rather eat boiled dog in Taos than roast lamb and asparagus in Pasadena.”
—Joseph Henry Sharp
The complex of traditional adobe buildings, the earliest parts of which date back to the 1830s, includes the home and studio of Eanger Irving Couse and two studios of Joseph Henry Sharp. The two were leading painters and members of the Taos Society of Artists (TSA), which they helped found in 1915. The architecture, furnishings, collections, gardens and views here provide unparalleled insight into the artistic life of the Taos art colony.

ABOUT

The Couse-Sharp Historic Site covers 2.3 acres a quarter mile east of Taos Plaza, on a ridge overlooking the town to the south and the Sangre de Cristo range. The buildings represent styles of New Mexico architecture from Spanish Colonial of the 1830s to Pueblo Revival of the 1930s. The site includes the furnished home and studio of Couse and two studio buildings of his neighbor and colleague, Sharp. Another feature is the historic garden created by Couse's wife, Virginia, believed to be the first decorative garden in the area and maintained with the plants and flowers she chose. It also includes the mechanical workshop and laboratory of their inventor son, Kibbey.

Both artists engaged Native Americans from the Taos Pueblo as models, some of whom became close friends of the family. The site today maintains ties with many of the models' descendants, and strives to promote Native art much as the original charter of the TSA directed.

The Couse house, with its original architecture, furnishings and collections, is the most complete extant example of life in the early Taos art colony. The Couses collected historic Native American pottery, clothing and artifacts, and 18th-19th century Northern New Mexican religious art (santos and retablos). The Couse Home and Studio tells the story not only of the artist, but of his family.


The earliest building on the site is the Luna Chapel, dating from c. 1830, which was purchased by Sharp in 1909 and modified for use as a studio. The building now serves as an exhibit space. Sharp's second studio, built in 1915, was completely restored in 2017 and now houses a permanent rotating exhibition of Sharp's paintings, collected objects, and personal artifacts. Vintage photographs are a reminder of what these spaces were like when occupied by Sharp and the views so important in many of his landscapes are still recognizable.

Sharp, who had no children, ultimately sold his property to Kibbey Couse. The property remained in the Couse family until it passed into the care of The Couse Foundation in 2012. In 2017, the foundation agreed to acquire the adjacent Mission Gallery building, which includes within it the last extant remnants of Sharp's home. Once renovations are complete, the building will house archives of material related to all of the TSA members, exhibits of relevant artwork and artifacts, and a research facility for scholarly use.

Did you know...?

Couse was called “Green Mountain” by his Pueblo Indian friends, partly as an honor relating him to their sacred Taos Mountain, but in addition, recognizing his rotund body in its ubiquitous green sweater.

SPECIAL RESOURCES

  • Contextual history of the Taos Society of Artists as reflected in the most original setting extant, including the home, furnishings, collections, archives, and creative spaces of Couse and his family.

  • Original artworks by Sharp and Couse.

  • Archival material relating to Sharp and Couse.

  • Photo archive, containing 10,000 prints and negatives, including 8,000 photo studies taken by Couse of his models.

  • Research library.

  • Collection of 18th and 19th Northern New Mexican religious art and furniture.

  • Collection of Native American pottery, costumes, and artifacts

WHAT TO DO HERE

  • House and studio tours (by appointment).
  • A garden where artists are welcome to paint.
  • Exhibits related to Couse, Sharp, and the Taos Society of Artists.
  • Lectures and book signings.

YOU CAN ALSO SEE THE ART HERE:

  • The National Museum of American Art, Washington DC
  • BNSF headquarters, Ft. Worth, TX
  • The Rockwell Museum, Corning, NY
  • New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM
  • The Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, NM
  • Eiteljorg Musem of American Art, Indianapolis, IN
  • Anschutz Collection, Denver, CO
  • The Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, OK
  • The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH
  • The Stark Museum of Art, Orange, TX
  • The Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH
  • Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
  • The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
  • The New Mexico Museum, of Art, Santa Fe, NM
  • Eiteljorg Musem of American Art, Indianapolis, IN