Preserving a Legacy

The late Bambie Ellis in front of her portrait, painted by her father Fremont F. Ellis.

Bambi Ellis was born on May 12, 1922, at the family home on Camino del Monte Sol. She was the daughter of the artist Fremont F. Ellis and Lorencita González. Ellis, along with Zozobra creator Will Shuster, Walter Mruk, Jozef Bakos and Willard Nash, became renowned as Los Cinco Pintores. These five artists helped to define American impressionism during the first half of the twentieth century and did their share to shape Santa Fe’s burgeoning art colony.

Bambi Ellis as a little girl performing at a family picnic. Her father, Fremont F. Ellis, is seated behind holding his son Fred. Lorencita González Ellis, Bambi’s mother, is standing next to Florence and Joe Tiano.

Museum of New Mexico 1921 Exhibit

When Los Cinco Pintores held their first exhibit at the Art Museum in Santa Fe in 1921, the town consisted of 7,000 people. The group who chose to work together also chose to live side by side and built their adobe homes next to each other on Camino del Monte Sol. For Ellis and her younger brother, Fred living among these five artists was truly memorable. As Ellis remembered, “In the evenings we would have get-togethers at each other’s houses. During Prohibition they made moonshine in their bathtubs. Somehow the authorities got wind of it, and an inspector came by and had them drain it.”

Keeper of the Flame

 Ellis worked exclusively as her father’s art representative. She traveled around the country to museums and to the homes of private collectors. Ellis’ diligent work paid off. The art of Fremont F. Ellis, who died in 1983, is featured in several national museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. At the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe, his piece Adios Amigo, depicting the funeral of Will Shuster, is on display.

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