Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Los Cinco Pintores

This is one of those perennial reference questions. What are the names of Los Cinco Pintores? The short answer:
Josef Bakos,
Fremont Ellis,
Walter Mruk,
Willard Nash,
Will Shuster.

Los Cinco Pintores ("the five painters") were among the earliest artist groups in New Mexico. On December 21, 1921, the group held their first exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe. They lived in a compound of buildings up on Camino del Monte Sol, and were sometimes spoken of as "the five nuts in the adobe mud huts." It seems silly to post about them without showing you images of their work, but there are copyright constraints. One image you are already very familiar with: in 1924, Will Shuster designed the original Zozobra figure, which is recreated and burned every year as part of Santa Fe's Fiesta.

Los Cinco Pintores are discussed in many books about Santa Fe's art history. We have a little pamphlet put out by the Museum of New Mexico, Los Cinco Pintores, by Edna Robertson (but the reproductions are black and white.) Two of Sharyn Rohlfsen Udall's titles have material about the painters and color reproductions, Santa Fe art colony, 1900-1942 and Modernist painting in New Mexico, 1913-1935. (There's a Fremont Ellis painting on page 47 of the former that I'd happily give house room to, any time.) We have a biography, Will Shuster : a Santa Fe legend, by Joseph Dispenza and Louise Turner. Bakos appears in the exhibition catalog Modernist themes in New Mexico : works by early Modernist painters.

On the web you can read a little about them at Collector's Guide and in the New Mexican. Images and biographical information online at at Owings-Dewey Gallery for Bakos ; Ellis; and Will Shuster. For other glimpses of some of their work try at for: Ellis; Nash; Shuster; and Bakos. Also, Bakos is at Walter Mruk is harder to find. If there's an image out there on the web, we couldn't find it.

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