Harwood Museum of Art
This museum (238 Ledoux St., 575/758-9826, www.harwoodmuseum.org 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sat., noon–5 p.m. Sun., $8) set in the sprawling pueblo revival–style home of the Harwood patrons, tells the story of Taos’s rise as an art colony, beginning with Ernest Blumenschein’s fateful wagon accident, which left him and his colleague, Bert Phillips, stranded in the tiny town in 1898.
Modern Taos painters are also represented in the temporary exhibit spaces upstairs, and it’s interesting to see the same material—the mountain, the pueblo, the river, local residents—depicted in different styles through the decades, from the Taos Society of Artists’ early realist works with a certain genre bent to later cubist and abstract efforts. Also upstairs: a small but very good assortment of Hispano crafts, including a couple of santos by Patrocinio Barela, the Taos wood-carver who modernized the art in the 1930s, and some beautiful 19th-century tinwork.
A separate back wing is dedicated to the ethereal abstractions of painter Agnes Martin, who live in Taos for 50 years before she died in 2004.
The Museum Association of Taos (www.taosmuseums.org) manages five museums in town, the Taos Art Museum at Fechin House, the Millicent Rogers Museum, the Harwood Museum of Art, the Ernest L. Blumenschein Home and Museum, and the La Hacienda de los Martinez. At any of the museums, you can buy a $25 pass, valid for a year, that grants you a single admission to all five. With individual admissions costing $8 or more, it can be worth it if you visit three places.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition