Eanger Irving Couse (1866-1936)
Born in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1866, Eanger Couse is primarily known for paintings of Taos Pueblo Indian males sitting or squatting by campfire light, suggesting that Indians were peaceful, dignified human beings and not the savages of Western lore.
Growing up in Saginaw, he lived among the Chippewa Indians and as a youngster did sketches of the people. From a poor family, he was a determined artist who studied for three months at the Art Institute of Chicago, having earned just enough money by painting houses, and then he returned to Saginaw to earn more money so he could go to New York City which he did in 1885.
In 1887, he went to Paris to the Academie Julian to study with his inspiration, William Adolphe Bouguereau. Couse returned to Paris many times, and on one of these trips met his future wife, Virginia Walker, an art student whose family had a ranch in Oregon.
In 1902, Couse visited Taos, New Mexico for the first time, having heard about it in Paris from his friend, Joseph Henry Sharp. In Pueblo Indians, Couse found the subject matter that seemed right for him, but he had difficulty finding ones to pose because of their belief that the soul of the sitter passes into the picture once it is completed.
In 1912, when the Taos Society of Artists was formed, he was elected its first president, and in 1927, he and his family moved there permanently. His wife died two years later, much affecting his spirit and the vitality of his paintings.
Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art
Peggy and Harold Samuels, Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West
Schools of Study
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Partial List of Collections
Albuquerque Museum of Art and History
Amon Carter Museum
Denver Art Museum
El Paso Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute
Museum of New Mexico
Taos Art Museum
Worcester Art Museum
The Eliot Silver Medal, National Academy of Design 1884
Prix et Medaille, Academie Julian 1888
Honorable Mention, Paris Exposition 1900
Two Bronze Medals, St. Louis Exposition 1901
Isidor Gold Medal, National Academy of Design, 1911
Silver Medal, Panama Pacific Exposition 1915
Ranger Fund Purchase 1921
Art Institute of Chicago
Corcoran Gallery, D.C.
Boston Art Club
World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago
Salmagundi Club, NYC
Louisana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis World Fair