Mabel Dodge Luhan & Company: American Moderns and the West is a traveling exhibition organized by the Harwood Museum of Art of the University of New Mexico that focuses on the life and times of one of the early 20th century’s most significant, yet under-recognized cultural figures: Mabel Dodge Luhan (1879–1962). Luhan brought modern art to northern New Mexico, putting Taos on the national and international maps of the avant-garde and creating a “Paris West” in the American Southwest. From 1918–1947, Luhan influenced legions of European and American “movers and shakers” to find in northern New Mexico’s physical and cultural landscapes new aesthetic, social, and cultural perspectives on modern life.
This exhibition will be the first to explore the impact Mabel Dodge Luhan had on the art, writings and activism of the 20th century American Modernism. D.H. Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe, Ansel Adams, John Marin, John Collier, Marsden Hartley, Paul Strand and Andrew Dasburg—among scores of other luminaries—were summoned to Taos by Mabel and subsequently found, in the remote high desert, intellectual and spiritual inspiration for their work. The work of these artists will be presented in relation to Pueblo and Hispano artists to examine the cultural exchange that formed a unique “Southwest Modernism”.
The Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, New Mexico
May 22 to September 11, 2016
The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, New Mexico
October 29, 2016 to January 22, 2017
Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo, New York
March 10 to May 28, 2017
Growing up in Gilded Age Buffalo, New York, Mabel Ganson Evans Dodge Sterne Luhan (February 26, 1879–August 13, 1962) became “a real creator of creators” as Marsden Hartley wrote to Alfred Stieglitz in 1914.
Mabel was a political, social, and cultural visionary, salon hostess, and collector of genius in almost every field of modern endeavor—painting, photography, drama, psychology, radical politics, and social reform. Luhan spent her adult life building utopian communities. First, as an expatriate in Florence (1905–12), where she attempted to recreate the Renaissance; next as a “New Woman” in Greenwich Village (1912–15), where she served as an honorary Vice President of the 1913 Armory Show and hosted one of the most famous salons in American history; and lastly, in Taos, her “New World” (1918–47), where she brought together a community of artists, writers, and social reformers whom she believed would convince their fellow-Americans of northern New Mexico’s potential for personal, aesthetic, and national revitalization.
Shortly after moving to Taos in 1918, Mabel met and married Antonio Lujan, a Taos Pueblo Indian. Together, they built an enclave that consisted of an 18-room Big House (and 5 guesthouses), the current day Mabel Dodge Luhan House. The visitors Luhan invited to Taos helped to shape an American Modernism as important—but far less acknowledged—than the one created in Paris by American expatriates after World War I. In Taos, West Coast luminaries crossed paths with East Coast Movers and Shakers (Luhan’s title for her New York years in her autobiography, Intimate Memories). The resulting synergy pluralized, indigenized, and expanded American modern art and culture.
MaLin Wilson-Powell is the co-curator and artistic visionary for this exhibition. Beginning in 1999, Wilson-Powell served as the first Curator of Art after 1945 at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas. She returned to Santa Fe, in 2004 as an independent art critic, lecturer, curator, editor, and educator. Previously, Wilson-Powell served as Curator of Exhibitions at the New Mexico Museum of Art, an assistant to Beaumont Newhall, and Director of the Jonson Gallery, at the University of New Mexico Art Museum. She holds an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and Art History from the University of Arizona.
Dr. Lois Rudnick is the co-curator and historian for this exhibition. Dr. Rudnick is Professor Emerita of American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she taught for 36 years. Rudnick is the author and preeminent scholar on Mabel Dodge Luhan, with eight books published on Luhan and her circle. She is an award winning teacher and recognized scholar of American modern culture. Rudnick holds a Ph.D. in American Civilization from Brown University and a M.A. in Humanistic Studies from Tufts University.
The accompanying publication, Mabel Dodge Luhan & Company: American Moderns & the West was designed by David Skolkin and published by the Museum of New Mexico Press.
This publication is a beautiful full-color, hardbound book that further illustrates the story of Mabel Dodge Luhan, her impact on American Modernism, and the complex issues of Anglo patronage of Native American and Hispano art and culture. The publication includes an introduction by Dr. Wanda Corn and essays by Dr. Lois Rudnick, MaLin Wilson-Powell, and Carmella Padilla.
Trim: 9 x 11.5 inches
Pages: 220 pages
Illustrations: 120 color and 50 black-and-white illustrations
Available for sale in April
For inquiries about early orders, please contact the Harwood Museum Store Manager, Glory Ann Penington.
The Harwood Museum of Art Announces New Traveling Exhibition Mabel Dodge Luhan & Company: American Moderns and the West
December 16, 2015; Taos, New Mexico The Harwood Museum of Art is proud to announce the premiere of a new traveling exhibition, Mabel Dodge Luhan & Company: American Moderns and the West. Opening May 22, 2016 in Taos, the exhibition is the largest in the museum's history and will be the first of its kind to examine the life and times of Luhan (1879–1962), one of the 20th century's most significant cultural figures at the center of the modernist effort in America…
Past press releases:
October 18, 2015 Journey to New Mexico – Follow Mabel’s Path to Taos
August 7, 2015 Who brought Georgia O'Keeffe, D.H. Lawrence and Ansel Adams to New Mexico?
June 5, 2015 Mabel Dodge Luhan & Company: American Moderns and the West traveling exhibition opens in Taos, NM in May 2016
An American Modern p.40
Fine Art Connoisseur
Experiencing Georgia O’Keeffe’s New Mexico by Peter Trippi, p. 104
Other Press Coverage
Nov. 3, 2015 flicksandfood.com
Journey to New Mexico – Follow Mabel’s Path to Taos
Jul. 9, 2015 Grant County Beat
"Mabel Dodge Luhan & Company: American Moderns and the West" Traveling Exhibition Opens in Taos, NM, in May 2016
Jun. 1, 2015 Mabel Dodge Luhan House Blog
Major 2016 Mabel exhibition: Overview
Please join us Thursday, May 19, 2016 for a Press Event for the Mabel Dodge Luhan & Co exhibition.
Please contact us to receive an invitation to this event.
Thank you to our supporters who have joined us so far to make this exhibition, publication and related programs possible.
Mabel Dodge Luhan Circle
The Henry Luce Foundation, Inc.
Stephanie Bennett-Smith and Orin R. Smith
Tony Luhan Circle
Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
MaryRoss Taylor in memory of her mother, Betty Taylor Abbott
Georgia O’Keeffe Circle
Mabel Dodge Luhan House
New Mexico Humanities Council
Richard B. Siegel Foundationbr
Joyce and Donald Rumsfeld
Joyce and Sherman Scott
Ansel Adams Circle
Barbara and Gary DeVane
Dora and Carl Dillistone
Lucile Leigh Grieder
Peyton Wright Gallery
Irene Vlitos-Rowe and Kevin Rowe
Kaye and Thomas Tynan
Andrew Dasburg Circle
Charles Redd Center
Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin*
Heritage Hotels and Resorts*
Historic Taos Inn*
Patrociño Barela Circle
Addison Rowe Gallery
Janara and George Bornstein
Harwood Museum Membership Alliance
Robert and Sherry Parsons
Peters Family Art Foundation
Santa Fe Community Foundation, ABCD Fund
Taos Magazine *
Victor Higgins Circle
Cherie Burns and Richard Duncan
Patti and Jim Day
Judy and Ray Dewey
Fiasco Fine Wine*
GuestLife New Mexico*
Rio Grande Ace Hardware*
Michael and Graham Sudbury
Taos Transportation, Ski Valley Shuttle*
Janice and William Terry
Rebecca Salsbury James Circle
Barry Norris Studio
Robert and P.J. Cardinale
Johnathan Warm Day Coming
Carol and David Farmer
Town of Taos*
* In-kind support
It is not too late to be part of this exciting exhibition. Please consider giving a tax-deductible gift to help us raise the final funds needed to reach our fundraising goal.
For questions or other ways to give or support this project, please contact Juniper Manley, Director of Development at 575.758.9826 x 116. We are pleased to recognize you or your business at a level commensurate with your contribution.
Plan Your Visit
Getting to Taos
One of the reasons Taos has appealed to so many artists is that it is off the beaten path. It is a little harder to get here, but well worth it.
If you have not been to Taos before, we encourage you to enjoy the many sites that you can experiences getting to this beautiful mountain community. Commercial airlines fly into Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Please plan for at least 2.5 hours to drive from Albuquerque and 1.5 hours from Santa Fe. Visit Taos.org for tips on planning the transportation for your trip.
For directions to the Harwood Museum and other details, please visit our main Harwood Museum of Art website for visit details.
Our preferred airport shuttle is with Taos Transportation, with service 2 times per day to and from Santa Fe and Albuquerque airports.
Enjoy special lodging packages that have been arranged for the Mabel Dodge Luhan & Company exhibition at:
Mabel Dodge Luhan House
1-800-846-2235 or 575-751-9686
Call to book rooms reserved for exhibition opening weekend May 20, 21, & 22 and symposium weekend June 17, 18, & 19. Book now as rooms are limited.
Enjoy a 15% discount when you stay with one of our other Preferred Lodging Partners Historic Taos Inn and La Posada de Taos.
Also if you plan on staying in Albuquerque or Santa Fe, enjoy a 15% discount on your room at any of the seven boutique Heritage Hotels and Resorts by entering the promo code HARWOOD.
Friday, May 20
Director’s Circle and VIP Opening Reception
Join the Director’s Circle now
Join the Harwood Museum of Art now
Mabel & Co open to the public (Free community day every Sunday)
Sunday, May 22
Passions of Mabel Dodge Luhan
Friday, June 17
Harwood Museum of Art
Saturday, June 18
Mabel Dodge Luhan & Company Symposium
with MaLin Wilson-Powell and Lois Rudnick, Wanda Corn, Carmella Padilla, and William Anthes
Taos Community Auditorium
Sunday, Sept 11
Close of Exhibition