Taos Art Museum is located in the Nicolai Fechin home at 227 Paseo del Pueblo Norte.
The Taos Art Museum
was founded in 1994 to preserve the works of early 20th century Taos artists.
In late 2002, the Museum moved into the Nicolai Fechin home, and opened there in July
2003. The Museum displays works from its collection of paintings by the Taos
Society of Artists as well as paintings by Fechin. The house itself is a
wonderful work of art, and visitors will enjoy seeing its interior, the
fabulous paintings hung on the walls, and the gift shop in the Fechin studio which has
a great selection of books about Taos artists. The grounds of the museum feature lovely gardens, particularly colorful in the spring and summer.
Nicolai Fechin was
born in Kazan, Russia in 1881. He studied art at the Imperial Art Academy in
Petrograd for seven years, and became an art teacher in Russia. In 1913 he
married Alexandra Belkovitch. While teaching, Fechin began submitting his art
work to the Chicago Art Institute and the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh. His
work was well received, so the Fechins along with daughter Eya, moved to New
York City in 1923. They lived there for four years and Fechin became one of the
leading portrait painters in the city.
In the summer of 1926, the Fechins visited Taos at the suggestion of British portrait painter John Young-Hunter. They loved the area, and moved to Taos in 1927, purchasing an adobe home on Paseo. Fechin completely redesigned and rebuilt the home, using his wood carving skills to craft the furniture, corbels, grand staircase, and just about every other piece of wood in the house. He had a studio back of the house (today housing the museum gift shop) which had a high ceiling with a huge north-facing glass window. Fechin painted in the early morning hours when the light was best in his studio, and at other times of the day worked on his wood carving and sculpture.
Unfortunately, Nicolai and Alexandra divorced in 1933.
Alexandra continued to live in the home until her death in 1983. Nicolai moved
to California where he had a studio in Santa Monica. He died in California in
1955. After Alexandra’s death, daughter Eya took over care of the Fechin home
in Taos. She established the Fechin Institute and opened a museum in the home.
Eya died in November, 2002, and the Taos Art Museum then made plans to move into the
Side view of the spectacular two-story adobe Fechin house.
The Fechin home, grounds, and museum shop are truly one of the delights of Taos. Be sure to visit when you are in Taos. You can find more information, including museum hours, here: https://www.taosartmuseum.org/