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Label, Sarachek’s, Kansas City, Missouri

Noted art historian Rick Stewart wrote, “Oscar Berninghaus was an illustrator whose life and career were completely transformed by his contact with Taos. Unlike most of his fellow artists in the Society, his artistic training was somewhat brief. Berninghaus was born and raised in St. Louis, and in 1893 he obtained a job with a major printing house, learning the skills of draftsmanship and design associated with the lithographic process. He also enrolled in night classes at Washington University where he studied the elements of drawing and composition. In 1899 he received a commission from the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad to journey to Colorado and New Mexico to make sketches for travel literature. On his way south from Alamosa to Santa Fe he discovered Taos, met Bert Phillips, and stayed there a week. He claimed in later life that the experience made him want to become an independent artist, and there is no doubt that on his return to St. Louis he worked towards that goal. He began painting western subjects in oil and watercolor, and in 1900 spent the first of many subsequent summers in Taos. Like several of the other artists, Berninghaus initially regarded Taos as a picturesque source of inspiration, rather than as a permanent home. By 1913 he was spending half of each year in New Mexico.”

Ted and Sue Dalzell, Santa Barbara, California

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