Some of Santa Fe’s Best Known Artists

The sculptor George Rivera of Pojoaque Pueblo.

Santa Fe is one of the largest art markets in the country after New York and Los Angeles. Native Americans continue to have a large presence in the world of art. Pottery remnants and other artifacts continue to be uncovered in and around Santa Fe. The sculptures of the late Allan Houser and George Rivera, a former governor of Pojoaque Pueblo, are featured prominently in area museums and galleries.

Santa Fe’s First Commercial Artist

The Portuguese artist Carlos Vierra was Santa Fe’s first commercial artist. He came to Santa Fe in 1904 and opened an art studio on the plaza. The buildings of the architect John Gaw Meem continue to define Santa Fe’s unique architecture. In 1921 five young artists, Jozef Bakos, Walter Mruk, Willard Nash, William Schuster (the co-creator of Zozobra) and Fremont Ellis joined creative forces and became known as Los Cinco Pintores, (The Five Painters) for their modernistic art that torpedoed Santa Fe into an artist colony, that continues to draw artists from around the world.

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Georgia O’Keeffe, one of the most important female artists of the 20th century, first came to New Mexico in 1929. In 1997 the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum opened in Santa Fe. Spanish Market Artists Angelina Delgado, Monica Sosaya Halford, Arlene Cisneros Sena, and Eliseo and Paula Rodriguez, fostered the tradition of Spanish Colonial Art. Faustin Herrera de Vargas captured the village churches through his paintings. Ford Ruthing’s paintings highlighting the pottery of New Mexico pueblos became a series of U.S. Postage stamps in 1977.

The sculptor Andrea “Drew” Bacigalupa ran the oldest-continuous gallery on Santa Fe’s famed Canyon Road. Aron Gunther, who escaped the Holocaust, created abstract menorahs as memorials to that horrific time in world history. Diana Bryer’s art depicts the simplicity of northern New Mexico. Tommy Maccione has gone down in Santa Fe history as a great artist and memorable, colorful personality.

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