The Couse-Sharp Historic Site consists of several historic buildings located at 146 Kit Carson Road in Taos.
The Couse-Sharp Historic Site consisting of several buildings, was the home and studio of Eanger Irving Couse and the home and studios of Joseph Henry Sharp. Sharp first purchased a home on Kit Carson Road in 1908, and he purchased the adjacent Luna Chapel for his studio in 1909. Upon entering the historic site today, the Luna Chapel is the shaded building on the right in the photograph above, and the Couse home is straight ahead. The Luna Chapel was built in the 1830s by Juan de Luna as a chapel for his family. When Sharp purchased it in 1909, he knocked out a large portion of wall on the north side for a window for his studio.
Finding the chapel still too dark for his work, he
built a new studio in 1915 out of a house that existed behind his house. This
studio has been restored by the Couse Foundation and was opened to the public
in 2017. Couse purchased a home on Kit Carson Road in 1909 adjacent to Sharp's home. The two artists were founding members of the Taos Society of Artists in 1915, and Couse was elected its first president. The new Lunder Research Center, hopefully opening in 2021, is in the former Mission Gallery building, a part of which was Sharp's original home. The Center will contain historic documents and papers of the Taos Society Artists, and will be open for research and study.
Joseph Henry Sharp was born in Bridgeport, Ohio
in 1859. He studied at the Cincinnati Art Academy, and then at the Academie
Julian in Paris. His first trip to the American west was in 1883, and he was
captivated by the landscape and the Indians. In 1893 he made his first trip to
Taos, and he related this adventure to Ernest Blumenschein and Bert
Phillips in Paris, which piqued their interest and their subsequent “broken
wheel” trip to Taos in 1898. Sharp moved to Crow Agency, Montana in 1902 to
paint the Plains Indians. By 1908 he was back in Taos, where he found the Taos
Pueblo Indians to be willing models for his paintings.
Eanger Irving Couse was born in Saginaw,
Michigan on September 3, 1866. He enrolled in the Art Institute of Chicago in
1883, and in 1886 he went to study at the Academie Julian in Paris. There he
studied under famous artist William Bouguereau, whose techniques influenced him
throughout his life. He married American artist Virginia Walker in Paris in
1889, and they moved to Washington state in 1896 near the home of Virginia’s family.
There, Couse painted portraits of Northwest Coast Indians, but by 1902 was
lacking models for his work. His old friend from Paris, Ernest Blumenschein,
suggested that Couse move on to Taos, which he did in 1902. The Couse’s
eventually purchased a home on Kit Carson Road adjacent to Sharp’s home in
1909. The Historic Site preserves the Couse home and studio in very nearly its original condition, including the display of Couse paintings in the studio.
The Couse-Sharp Historic Site and its restoration is a very important part of the art heritage of Taos, and should be on any list of places to visit in Taos. You can find out more here: http://couse-sharp.org/