The Squatter's Hut
William Lester ( American, 1910 - 1991 )
Mountains Near Taos depicts a small settlement nestled between Taos Mountain and the gorge of the Rio Grande. The clear, vibrant colors capture the raking light of afternoon, throwing into high relief the contours and textures of the land. The undulating repetition across the canvas of landforms and masses of trees reflects the centuries-old rhythms of life in this harsh but beautiful country. Ernest Blumenschein worked on this canvas intermittently, knitting together the forms and colors as his artistic vision evolved over an eight-year period.
The region’s scenery captivated Blumenschein, who first discovered Taos in 1897–98, when McClure’s magazine sent him there on a sketching trip. In 1898 he co-founded an artist’s colony there, which thrived in the early 20th century. After 1919, the artist and his family moved permanently to Taos.
Sue Canterbury, DMA label text, 2013