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E.I. Couse (1866-1936)


Eanger Irving Couse was born in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1866.  As a young boy, Couse sketched the Chippewa Indians near his home.  Couse left Michigan to pursue his art studies, first at the Chicago Art Institute, and later at the National Academy of Design in New York.  He excelled in New York, and by 1886 was in Paris, studying at the Ecole des Beaux Arts.


Between 1891 and 1902, Couse move back and forth between France and Oregon, where he was the first to paint portraits of the Klikitat Tribe.  In 1902 he moved to New York, and the following year, at the urging of his friend, Joseph Sharp, Couse spent his first summer in New Mexico.  Thereafter, Couse spent every summer painting in Taos until 1927, when he settled in the artist’s colony full time.


Vastly popular in their day, Couse’s paintings seldom veer far from what the artist knew was commercially viable.  While the works are quite stirring, Couse was far less concerned with historical accuracy or ceremony than many of his peers such as Oscar Berninghaus.  His posed subjects were more peaceful, decorative and more contemplative than those of his peers who often preferred their subjects unstaged.


A vastly influential artist to this day, Eanger Irving Couse was one of the original six “Taos Founders” of the Taos Society of Artists, and was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1911.


E.I. Couse died in 1936.

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