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 Cady Wells  (1904 - 1954)

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Lived/Active: New Mexico/Massachusetts / Mexico      Known for: modernist, abstract landscape and religious figure painting

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Ad Code: 3
Cady Wells
from Auction House Records.
Orange Rocks, Jacona
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Described as a talented young painter who had left his wealthy family in the East to settle in Taos, Cady Wells---also known as Henry Cady Wells, was born and raised in Southbridge, Massachusetts.  He was 20 years old before deciding to become an artist.  As a gay young man, he was sent by his family at age 22 to Mesa, Arizona to the Evans School Ranch for Boys, which, described as the western equivalent of Philips Andover, was designed to give eastern young men a college preparatory education in a western ranch lifestyle environment. 

From there, he studied and traveled widely, pursuing interests in music and the visual arts.   In 1932 he went to New Mexico and almost immediately fell under the influence of Andrew Dasburg, who became his mentor for the next several years.  Portraying the southwestern landscape in watercolor, Wells moved through various modernist idioms.  His early work incorporated gestural, calligraphic lines suggestive of Chinese ideograms.  Later he investigated the structure of natural forms the patternlike appearance of the landscape.

Influenced by Dasburg, Raymond Jonson, and Georgia O'Keeffe, Wells developed a personal semi-abstract style that brought considerable praise from his peers.  He also deserves recognition for donating his extensive collection of santos to the Museum of New Mexico.  At Wells's recommendation, E. Boyd—who had originally invited Wells to New Mexico—became the museum's first curator of Spanish colonial art.

Museum of New Mexico. Cady Wells, 1904–1954. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico: School of American Research, 1956.
Duncan, Kate C. "Cady Wells: The Personal Vision." In Cady Wells: A Retrospective Exhibition. Albuquerque: University Art Museum, University of New Mexico, 1967.
Udall. Modernist Painting in New Mexico, pp. 199–201.
Charles Eldredge, Julie Schimmel, and William H. Truettner. Art in New Mexico, 1900–1945: Paths to Taos and Santa Fe (Washington, DC: National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 1986).


Smithsonian American Art Museum (Quotations)

Lois P. Rudnick, "The Art of Cady Wells from 1933 to 1954", American Art Review, February, 2011.

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Cady Wells is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Taos Pre 1940

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