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 Jozef Bakos  (1891 - 1977)

About: Jozef Bakos
 

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Lived/Active: New Mexico      Known for: landscape, mod figure, sculptor

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BIOGRAPHY for Jozef Bakos
Facts/Data
Birth
1891 (Buffalo, New York)
 
Death
1977 (Santa Fe, New Mexico)

Lived/Active
New Mexico


Self portrait - Self Portrait with Dog, 1930


Often Known For
landscape, mod figure, sculptor

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A significant contributor to modernism in the American Southwest, Josef Bakos was a member of "Los Cinco Pintores," Spanish for Five Painters, the first artist group in New Mexico devoted to modernism and bringing art to the people of New Mexico, those who worked in factories, mines, etc. so that they could have a greater appreciation of beauty.

Bakos was the son of Polish immigrants and grew up in Buffalo, New York. He studied at the Art School at the Albright Art Gallery with John Thompson, who introduced him to Cezanne whom he emulated including becoming a plein-air painter. In 1918, Bakos followed Thompson to Denver, Colorado and worked as an art teacher in Boulder.

In 1920, Bakos settled in Santa Fe, where he first earned money by carving furniture for La Fonda Hotel and in 1921 founded "Los Cinco Pintores" with Walter Mruk, Willard Nash, Will Shuster, and Fremont Ellis.

Biography from Addison Rowe Fine Art:
Jozef Bakos did not have the money to follow his fellow contemporaries to Paris to further his art education in the early 1900's. He was a working man that came from Polish immigrants who migrated to Buffalo, New York in the late 19th century. His father passed down the ability to work as a woodcarver and general contractor.

Jozef's early mentor was his art teacher John E. Thompson. Thompson provided the entrée to European art. Thompson brought to Buffalo the results of studying at the Academie Julian and living in Europe for a decade right before WWI. Cezanne's work had a big influence on Bakos. Childhood friends and fellow students, Walter Mruk and Augustine Korda, accompanied him to a traveling show of Western art by The Society of Men Who Paint the Far West. There for the first time he saw the works of Taos artists E. Irving Couse and Ernest Blumenschein. Bakos started painting impressions from this show.

Mruk and Bakos followed Thompson to Denver, Colorado. A year later all three of them entered into the 25th Annual Exhibition of the Denver Art Association. Their paintings created a public outrage. The western viewers did not like their first exposure to modernism and wrote scathing letters to the press about how this art reeked of Bolshevism.

In spite of this controversy, Bakos taught briefly at the University of Colorado until the school shut down from an influenza epidemic. He then visited Mruk in Santa Fe. He fell in love with the landscape and never left. The two of them worked for the U.S. Forest Service. This experience opened up visuals that are reflected in his oils. To make ends meet, he used his carpentry and woodcarving skills to make handmade furniture.

Bakos started a modernist art group with Walter Mruk, Willard Nash, Will Shuster and Fremont Ellis called Los Cinco Pintores. This group of young men definitely rebelled against the academic traditions in art. The Pintores wanted to have traveling art shows for the common man. Their show went on the road in the Midwest. Although these shows only lasted until the mid 1920's, Bakos sold several works and was offered a teaching job at one of the leading universities. He declined.

Then next group Bakos co-founded was The New Mexico Painters. This was a result from he and William P. Henderson being rejected membership from the Taos Society. The Taos Society considered their work "too modern." One of the big missions of New Mexico Painters was to transcend the rivalry between the two art colonies.

In 1929 Bakos married a countess and concert pianist named Teresa Di Locci Di Lanti. They became the fabric of the growing artistic colony in Santa Fe. His artistic output received national recognition. Bakos's paintings are in collections of major museums such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Brooklyn Museum and Denver Art Museum.

Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, II:
Born: Buffalo, New York 1891

Santa Fe painter, sculptor, teacher

Of polish descent, Bakos studied at the Albright Art School in Buffalo, in Toronto, and in Denver with John E. Thompson. He was the first art instructor at the University of Colorado in Boulder. When he moved to Santa Fe in 1921, he built a studio on the Camino del Monte Sol near the others of Los Conco Pintores. Bakos taught at the University of Denver 1931-33 and in the Santa Fe high school beginning 1940. His brightly colored painting style changed with the subject, from openness “conveying the largeness of the land” to “unexpectedly detailed” objects. His wife Theresa was also an artist.

“A sociable, ebullient person, an emotional and dramatic painter,” Bakos was called one of “the five little nuts in five adobe huts.” The Pintores—Bakos, Ellis, Mruk, Nash, and Shuster—in the early 1920s were the serious avant-garde artists in Santa Fe, although they were at first unable to earn a living through art. Bakos also worked as a carpenter and furniture maker. Their leisure hours were dedicated to fun, with frequent parties and homemade beer. By 1926, the Pintores were no longer exhibiting as a group.

Resource: SAMUELS’ Encyclopedia of ARTISTS of THE AMERICAN WEST,
Peggy and Harold Samuels, 1985, Castle Publishing

Biography from Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery Santa FeTucson:
Jozef Bakos, born in Buffalo, New York, was a member of "Los Cinco Pintores," an avant garde painting group in Santa Fe.  Trained in Buffalo, Toronto and Denver, Bakos went on to teach at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Denver and Santa Fe High School. 

Multi-talented as much by necessity as choice (Los Cinco Pintores were never terribly successful at selling their work), Bakos was also a carpenter and furniture maker whose large commissions (like that which he received from La Fonda Hotel) sustained him financially.

The Pintores (Bakos, Ellis, Mruk, Nash and Shuster) dissolved after only five years, but Bakos stayed in Santa Fe and became famous for his parties and anachronistic hobbies, including home brewing.

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