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 Datus Ensign Myers  (1879 - 1960)

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Lived/Active: New Mexico/California/Oregon      Known for: Indian-genre, figure and portrait painting

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Ad Code: 3
Datus E Myers
from Auction House Records.
Taos Valley
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following biography was submitted in June of 2006 by Art Historian Michael Perez:

Born in Jefferson, Oregon on Sept. 29, 1879, Myers studied at the Chouinard School of Art in Los Angeles, and at the Art Institute of Chicago with famous artists Vanderpool, Freer, Betts, and C. F. Brown. Myers is best known for his paintings of the American West and his idealistic images of Native-American life.

Datus Myers and architect Alice Clark Myers first arrived in Santa Fe in 1923 on a painting trip. Like so many other artists, the Myers found Santa Fe irresistible, and in 1925 they moved into the Canyon Road neighborhood where they remodeled an old adobe on the Camino del Monte Sol (the name of a famous street in Santa Fe on which many artists lived and worked). Datus Myers had studied painting and sculpture at the Chicago Art Institute where he met Alice Clark, one of the first female graduates in architecture.  He later taught at the Arsuna School of Fine Arts which occupied famous artist Mary Austin's home on the Camino after her death in 1934.  In the 1930s, Datus Myers acting as a field coordinator for the Indian Division of The Public Works of Art Project, worked hard to create a greater awareness of the Indian arts in this century, however the major participants in the project were primarily then the leading Indian painters, potters and sculptors all of whom created significant artistic and historical documentation of their culture.  Some fine murals were done by four Native American artists for the Department of Interior building in Washington. The Santa Fe Indian School became known as an institution that fostered both traditional and innovative arts.

Sometime about 1910 he was also known to have started to create many other murals.  Several of these, depicting Western themes, are located in Chicago in Elementary and High schools.  A kind and gentle individual, Myers works suggests the peaceful coexistence of the settlers and indians, illustrated in one mural, by including a pioneer mother and child in the Native-American environment and a young Indian woman with child in the settler’s camp.  The marked absence of weapons in the scene downplayed the more violent aspects of Westward expansion.  Also, in 1939 he created a mural titled "Logging in Louisiana Swamps", which is located at the U.S. Post Office in Winnsboro, Louisiana.

Myers was a member of the San Diego Friends of Art, the San Diego Art Guild in 1924, and the Chicago Society of Artists.  He exhibited at the Museum of New Mexico, and at the Art Institute of Chicago 1909-1921.  His work is represented in permanent collections at the Museum of New Mexico, and at the National Collection of Fine Arts.

Datus Ensign Myers spent his remaining years in northern California in Siskiyou County where he died on Nov. 19, 1960.

Biography from William R Talbot Fine Art:
Datus Ensign Meyers (1879-1960) was an early member of the Canyon Road art community. Meyers is best known for his paintings of the American west and depictions of Native-American life. After moving to New Mexico, his artwork became influenced by that of Native Americans, with whom he worked in the Public Works of Art Project of the 1930s.

Meyers was born in Oregon and had the good fortune to study at the prestigious Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, California. He furthered his studies at the Art Institute of Chicago. As an outstanding student there, Myers was given the opportunity to paint a mural in the Linné Elementary School, which he completed in 1910. The mural, Settlers and Indians, already suggests his interest in western themes with its depiction of Plains Indians.  In the 1920s, Myers was awarded a Chicago Rapid Transit commission to produce posters advertising the use of rail transport for recreation. His posters included Wooded Island, Jackson Park, by the Elevated Lines and Green Bay Trail, by the North Shore Rail Line. These works reveal his affinity with the California colorists of the time, while displaying an assured confidence with graphic media.

Meyers met his wife Alice Clark while at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1923 the couple visited Santa Fe and by 1925 had moved into an adobe house on Canyon Road. In the 1930s, Meyers was appointed field coordinator for the Indian Division of the Public Works of Art Project in the 1930s. He brought to the job an enthusiasm for the subject matter and worked toward increasing awareness of Indian arts. The project was based at the Santa Fe Indian School, establishing the school’s reputation in the arts. Working with some of the finest Indian artists of the time had a strong influence on the formal qualities of Myers’ artwork, and sometimes its subject matter as well.

Datus Myers’ works are held in a number of important permanent collections including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Chicago Art Institute, and the Museum of New Mexico.

Biography from Crocker Art Museum Store:
Born in Jefferson, Oregon on September 29, 1879.  Myers studied at the Chouinard School of Art in Los Angeles and at the Art Institute of Chicago.  Primarily associated with the Santa Fe art community for 30 years, he spent his remaining years in northern California in Siskiyou County where he died on Nov. 19, 1960.

Member: San Diego Friends of Art; San Diego Art Guild; Chicago Society of Artists. AAA 1909-33; AAW; SCA; Ben; WWAA 1940.
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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