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 Burt Harwood  (1857 - 1922)

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Lived/Active: New Mexico/Iowa/Minnesota / France/Mexico      Known for: Indian genre, figure and portrait painting, educator

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Ad Code: 4
Burt Harwood
from Auction House Records.
Taos Winter
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Burt Harwood, born in Iowa, was a painter whose ongoing reputation comes from his Indian paintings tied to his years in Taos, New Mexico beginning 1916, and from the museum that was named for him after his death in 1922.  Much of his earlier career was spent in France where he studied at the Academie Julian* with Jean Paul Laurens and lived with his wife, Lucy Elizabeth Case Harwood, in southern France.

Harwood and his wife had married in 1896.  In Taos, they purchased on Ledoux Street an old house that dated back to 1825 and one that held Harwood's studio.  During the next few years, they added property to that original piece and insisted on renovations in keeping with the original building methods.  They made several apartments and rented one to E Martin Hennings and his wife, when they first arrived in Taos from their honeymoon.  Using her own books, Elizabeth Harwood also created a public lending library in the structure because Taos did not have one.

A year after her husband's death, she established the Harwood Foundation "as a non-profit institution dedicated to the cultural benefit of Taos." (Porter 267)  Included in the project was a museum that became the Harwood Museum.

Source:
Dean Porter, Taos Artists and Their Patrons

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see AskART.com Glossary http://www.askart.com/AskART/lists/Art_Definition.aspx


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information is from Penelope Hedges, Millbrook, New York.

"This information is from an undated newspaper clipping in an album concerning the artist. Burt Harwood's memorial exhibition that consists of paintings of Indiana and pictures of the southwest.  He had made his home in Europe for many years, then in l918, returned to this country.  He settled in Taos.....From 1918 to 1922 Harwood painted the Pueblo Indians, their customs and activities."

Indian Paintings by Burt Harwood in this exhibition:

1. SHIPOLOVI BY MOONLIGHT 2. THE PENITENT 3. WARRIOR 4. LITTLE WAR CHIEF 6. MANUEL 7. THE TRAPPER 8. THE STRIPED BLANKET 9. AUTUMN (TAOS) 10 WINTER (TAOS) 11. THE LOMA 12. INDIAN GIRL 13. SNOW SCENE 14. CONFIDENCES 15. ACOMA PUEBLO 16. ACOMA 17. ACOMA 18. KATCHINAS 19. COCHITI DRUMMER BOY 20. APACHE INDIAN 21. FIESTA TIME (TASO) 22. EVENING OF FIEISTA (TAOS) 23. iNDIAN INTERIOR 24. THE APACHE 25. ZUNI BOY 26. SAN JUAN INDIAN 27. SAN FELIPE GIRL 28. SAN FELIPE INDIAN 29. SAN FELIPE INDIAN 20. ZUNI DICK 31. INDIAN HEAD 32. TAOS INDIAN 33. BOY'S HEAD 34. INDIAN GIRL AT HOME 35, CANDIDO 36. STUDY OF AN INDIAN 37 LAUGHING BOY 38. ACOMA PUEBLO 39. TAOS MOUNTAIN 40. THE MORADO 41. APACHE HEAD 42. THE COURTSHIP 43. GIRL WITH KACHINA 44. THE WHITE BLANKET 45. COCHITA LAUGHING BOY 46. INTERIOR PUEBLO


Biography from The Harwood Museum of Art:
Elihu Burritt (Burt) Harwood (1855-1922), the son of Sanford and Kezia (Dryer) Harwood, was to have a major influence on the fledgling art community and cultural history of Taos, New Mexico. Burt’s father Sanford was apprenticed to learn the trade of a saddler. By the time of his death in February 1896, Sanford Harwood - having moved West and settled in Charles City, Iowa in 1850 - had amassed thousands of acres of prime farmland in Iowa. He very likely owned real estate in St. Paul and Minneapolis, where he journeyed “ in search of lands” in 1853, when both were villages of 200 and 100 inhabitants, respectively, and where his son Burt would later establish two Academies of Art and Design.

Sanford and his wife Kezia had six children, of whom three (Burt and two siblings) lived to adulthood. One of Burt’s siblings became a publisher, the other a homemaker. Burt Harwood’s life to 1910 is chronicled in a volume of the Harwood genealogy by kinsman Watson H. Harwood, M.D. published in 1911 and financed by Burt himself.

The genealogy record for Elihu Burritt Harwood states that after high school Harwood adopted art as a profession. He enrolled in the Chicago Academy of Design in 1873, at the age of 18. The genealogy’s cryptic statement that Harwood “later engaged in business” after his study at the Chicago Academy of Design refers to his work as a photographer between 1873 and 1882, by which time he was senior partner at Harwood and Mooney, Photography, in Charles City, Iowa. The Floyd County, Iowa Archives states that Harwood & Mooney, Photography “is one of the city’s enterprising young firms. Though both are young men, they do some of the finest work in their line in the State.”

In 1882, at age twenty-seven, Harwood enrolled in the Art Students League in New York City. Two years later he enrolled in Paris’ Académie Julian, where he studied under Gustave Boulanger, Jules Lefebvre, Amie Morot, Raphael Collin, and – for several months - the sculptor Mercier. Harwood returned to the United States in 1887 to set up the Academies of Art and Design in St. Paul (1888) and Minneapolis (1889), where he met and married Elizabeth (Lucy) Case in September of 1896. Shortly after, he returned with Lucy to Paris. The record notes that on Burt’s return to Paris, “he renewed his study under Benjamin Constant and J.P. Laurens,” both instructors at the Académie Julian.

A 1955 article on the Harwood Foundation in El Crepusculo, a Taos weekly, describes the lifestyle of Burt and Lucy in Paris from 1896 to the end of 1916: "Travel over continent, lazy days in summer sun, winter sports, residences in both Paris and Brittany where artist-photographer Harwood took masterful pictures of every phase of life: weddings, funerals, festivals, customs, exhibits of paintings in Paris—this was the pleasant pattern of the Harwoods’ life until the threat, and later the actuality of World War I turned them to more serious pursuits, and later to seek a new home." (El Crepusculo, November 3, 1955) One such pursuit was Burt’s role as a donor in the French Red Cross program, which channeled financial support to French soldiers who were prisoners of war in Germany, from 1915 to well after war’s end in 1918. Another was the Harwoods’ support of a hospital in Pontivy, Brittany for wounded soldiers “until the declaration of war by the U.S. [April 1917] at which time they thought it wise to return home.” (El Crepusculo, Nov 3, 1955).

The inherited wealth of Burt Harwood enabled him to set up the art academies in Minneapolis and St. Paul. His inheritance, and that of Lucy, provided both with the opportunity to travel, to study art abroad, to finance the hospital in Brittany, and eventually to purchase “El Pueblito” in Taos upon the Harwoods’ return to the United States and their move to New Mexico in1916. The property that the Harwoods purchased from Captain Simpson’s oldest daughter, along with surrounding property purchased later, became their home, a salon of sorts for local artists, and - upon Burt’s death - the Harwood Foundation. Its public name was changed in the 1990s to the Harwood Museum of Art.

Despite the Harwoods’ hospitality and, more compelling, Burt’s credentials as a photographer/artist and his training in Paris - during which time he exhibited in the salon of the Société des Artistes Français - Burt Harwood was rejected for membership in the Taos Society of Artists, having been nominated by Bert Phillips. But apparently the rejection did nothing to slow Burt’s creative urges. Harwood continued to paint at the same time as he “directed the remodeling of the El Pueblito compound, in keeping with local construction techniques.”

With his architect Abe Bowring, Burt Harwood connected the disparate structures and added a second story, thus making the first two-story building in Taos apart from the community structures at Taos Pueblo. The Harwood compound was reputedly the first residence in Taos to have electricity, and one of the largest until Mabel Dodge Luhan built hers. The Harwoods opened their newly renovated home as a kind of social center, or Southwest style salon, with informal or semi-formal discussions, lectures and art exhibitions. The Blumenscheins would move down the street a few years later, and that residence is now the E.L. Blumenschein Home and Museum.

If Downton Abbey or The Cazalets were set in America, the casting of Burt Harwood as family patriarch would make a convincing choice. One surviving photograph captures the image of a suave, self-possessed young gentleman, handsome and decked in a raccoon fur with a jaunty hat, senior partner in a very successful photographic studio by age twenty-five. Another shows the young Harwood a few years later, now an aspiring art student at the Académie Julian in Paris. Other photographs record his young bride Lucy Case, their life in Paris and Brittany, and his fellow expatriates. In Taos, we see a mature man, burdened with ill health during the last years of his life.

An article in the September 26, 1922 issue of The Taos Valley News stated that Burt Harwood’s death on September 12th was due to heart failure, noting that he suffered from pleurisy. It is likely, then, that Burt Harwood died as a result of pulmonary heart disease, a complication of the disease.

Current Harwood Museum of Art Curatorial Fellow James Kent observed that “Burt Harwood's own photographs capture the mystique of a heritage by now almost unknown to us. Yet, the old-time aesthetic of his nearly century-old prints and negatives eloquently mark the passing of an age, and thus the great gap that separates that culture from our own times.” If it was the task of Burt Harwood’s photography to record that culture, it has become the role of Burt and Lucy’s museum and collections – the Harwood Museum of Art - to preserve it as a living legacy. ?

Written by Jina Brenneman, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions


** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.


Burt Harwood is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Taos Pre 1940

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