Eanger Irving Couse (1866-1936)

E Irving Couse

E Irving Couse

Eanger Irving Couse was an American artist, founding member and first president of the Taos Society of Artists. He is famous for paintings of Native Americans, New Mexico, and the American Southwest. His house and studio in Taos have been preserved as the Eanger Irving Couse House and Studio—Joseph Henry Sharp Studios, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the New Mexico Register of Cultural Properties.

Couse was born to a farming family in Saginaw, Michigan. As a boy, he started drawing members of the Chippewa tribe who lived nearby. He attended local schools as a child and continued to work at art. Couse left Michigan for professional art studies at the Art Institute of Chicago and the National Academy of Design, New York. He went to Paris, where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts and Académie Julian under William-Adolphe Bouguereau. He lived in France for 10 years, painting mostly landscapes of the Normandy coast. Between 1893 and 1896, he lived at the Etaples art colony, where he painted its streets and fisher folk, including Coastal Scene, Etaples.

After his return to the United States, Couse first lived in New York. He spent time in Taos, New Mexico during the summers. At the turn of the 19th century, the Southwest, and New Mexico in particular, attracted numerous artists and writers because it remained untouched by national expansion efforts dictated by the American policy of Manifest Destiny. The artists and writers of this era wanted to capture the last vestiges of the Old West before it disappeared altogether. During his time in New Mexico, Couse studied and painted the lives and culture of the Taos Indians, a Pueblo tribe. He began to show his paintings of Native American life and earned his first solo show in 1891.

In 1911 Couse was elected to the National Academy of Design. He also became active in the Taos art colony. In 1915, Couse was one of the six founding members of the Taos Society of Artists, and was elected first president. Another founding member was the artist J. H. Sharp, who adapted a chapel near Couse’s house as a studio. Later Sharp built a combined house and studio on the land. The adjacent properties are recognized jointly as the Couse/Sharp Historic Site, and are preserved and operated by the Couse Foundation.




Share this with your friends: