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Walter Ufer (1876-1936)
Walter Ufer was born in Germany, in 1876 to parents who immigrated to the United States the following year. At an early age Ufer was encouraged in his artistic pursuits and was apprenticed to a lithographer as a boy. Ufer spent seven years studying in Europe, and earned his degree at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Germany, where he met fellow Americans, Joseph Sharp and Henry Blumenschein.
In 1911, Ufer married an artist, Mary Fredericksen, and the two traveled and painted in Paris, Italy and North Africa before returning to Chicago, where Walter’s works caught the eye of one of the city’s major art patrons, Mayor Carter Harrison. Harrison arranged for the Ufers to visit Taos, New Mexico, in 1914, and three years later, the Ufers were permanent residents of the expanding art colony.
Ufer was a founding member of the Taos Society of Artists, and between 1916 and 1926 was exhibiting very successfully at venues such as the National Academy of Design, and the Corcoran Gallery.
A painter with a strong socialist conscience, Ufer painted the Pueblo residents without romantic embellishment, and in fact often focused on the oppressed nature of Pueblo life. Ufer’s later years were plagued by indebtedness, alcoholism, and sluggish sales as a result of the Depression era. Walter Ufer died in Santa Fe in 1936.
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