Joseph Henry Sharp (1859-1953)

photograph portrait of Joseph Henry sharp


Born in Bridgeport, Ohio, Joseph Sharp was regarded as the "father of the Taos Art Colony" and was known for his Indian figures, genre paintings, and exquisitely colorful landscapes.

He was one of the first Caucasian artists to visit New Mexico, arriving in Santa Fe in 1883.  He was also a visitor to Alaska, being one of the early artists who visited there after the purchase of the Territory.  Although Sharp was completely deaf from a childhood accident, he reportedly had a cheerful nature and was an avid traveler, always seeking learning experiences about other cultures.

From childhood, he was interested in Indigenous culture, and at age fourteen, because of his deafness, left public school to study art in Cincinnati at the McMicken School and the Cincinnati Academy of Art.  His studio was in the same building as Henry Farny, who gave him books on Pueblo Indians.

At age 22, Sharp went to Antwerp, Belgium, where he studied with Charles Verlat, and two years later, he began traveling the American West, going first on a sketching trip that included Santa Fe, places in California, and north to the Columbia River.  He did numerous paintings of Indian figures to record their disappearing culture.

In 1886, he returned to Europe for more study and enrolled at the Academy in Munich with Karl Von Marr.  He also traveled with Frank Duveneck, a famous Cincinnati artist, through Spain and Italy.  From 1892 to 1902, he taught classes at the Cincinnati Art Academy, and from 1895 to 1896, he attended the Academie Julian in Paris, where he met Ernest Blumenschein and Bert Geer Phillips, who later joined him in Taos.

By 1912, Sharp was a permanent resident of Taos, living across from Kit Carson's homesite and painting many of the Pueblo Indians in their daily activities.


Dean Porter, Taos Artists and Their Patrons
Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art

Schools of Study

Academie Julian

The Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp

Art Academy of Cincinnati

Cincinnati Academy of Art (Teacher)

McMicken School of Design

Munich Academy of Fine Arts

Royal Academy

Partial List of Collections

Birmingham Museum of Art

Cincinnati Art Museum

El Paso Museum of Art

Indianapolis Museum of Art

Museum of Fine Arts-Montana

Museum of New Mexico

Museum of The Southwest

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Southwest Museum

Selected Awards

Silver medal, Academie Colarossi, 1895

Selected Exhibitions

Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, OK, 1949

Going to the Races, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago World's Fair, 1893

4th Annual Cincinnati Art Club, Cincinnati Art Museum, 1894

Paris Exposition, 1900

Detroit Museum of Art, 1901

St, Louis Art Museum, 1901

Selected Works in Our Inventory