Ernest L. Blumenschein

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Ernest Leonard Blumenschein (26 May 1874 – 6 June 1960) was an American artist and founding member of the Taos Society of Artists. He is noted for paintings of Native Americans, New Mexico and the American Southwest.


Early life and education

Ernest Blumenschein was born on May 26, 1874 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[1] His mother died four year later, and the same year his father accepted a position as director of the Dayton Philharmonic in Ohio. After high school, Blumenschein attended the Cincinnati College of Music on a scholarship,[1] where he studied violin.[2]

While in Cincinnati, he also attended an illustration course from Fernand Lungren at the Cincinnati Art Academy, causing him to change his studies from music to art. He moved to New York City in 1892, studying at the Art Students League of New York; however, attracted by the idea of studying art in Europe, he enrolled at the Académie Julian in Paris in 1894. There he met and became friends with Bert Phillips and the older and more experienced artist Joseph Henry Sharp, who regaled the two younger artists with stories of his 1893 visit to Taos, New Mexico.[1]


Blumenschein returned to New York in 1896, to work as an illustrator in a studio shared with Bert Phillips. In early 1898, he took an assignment that required him to travel to Arizona and New Mexico. That Spring, he convinced Phillips to join him on a second journey to the American West. Their first stop was Denver, Colorado, where they bought art and camping supplies, a wagon, horses and a revolver. Thus equipped, they set out with the intention of reaching Mexico.[1]

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