The Mabel Dodge Luhan House is a famous diva house in Taos. It was fun to sit around and hear about her life in New Mexico. Of course what I had known of her came from Janet Flanner’s Paris was Yesterday and Gertrude Stein. I knew about her connection with Georgia O’Keeffe. I have just learned about her affair with D.H. Lawrence, whose picture looks like Henry Hull in The Werewolf of London sans widow’s peak. I have no idea of what he whispered in their ears, but I can’t see anyone getting driven wild, whatever. So anyway this wonderful house she designed with her final husband, Tony Luhan and had all these great people come to Taos to stay. What this must have been like for the conservative pueblo is anyone’s guess. Funny, Dennis Hopper should buy this place and wind up botching The Last Movie. But the house is there and you can go there if you like. That is, if you have enough, there might be a room waiting for you. And all that history.
The Millicent Rogers Museum also in Taos. Story had it that Mabel lent Millicent her house when she came to down, after leaving Hollywood and her former beau, Clark Gabel, after she caught him with someone else. Like all named, she became enchanted with Taos, and settled here for the rest of her life. The museum is not her actual home, but a repository for some of the art she amassed over a 7 year period. Here you will find paintings, weaving, jewelry, basketry, iron ware, graphic work, etc.There are no photos inside, since some dip came in, shot photos of the Navaho rugs, then went and had someone sell copies. But there still is room to shoot this beautiful land outside, and a small courtyard which contains sculpture.
Like the other people who came here and discovered things, it takes very little to understand that when you meet Roxanne Swentzell, she is not only a great artist, but a great soul. Humble, unpretentious, thoughtful. One need only to watch her hands, to see how feet and hands imbue themselves in her sculpture. This is no diva, for her humility goes beyond that. Of native and European origins, with her craft growing out her native family traditions, her work is not art, but life. Her wonderful work should be in every American museum in the United States, for she is truly an origina. We thank her for allowing us to come into the Tower, and be so generous with her reflections and her time.
It was a long, fun day the Tower Gallery is up the road in Santa Fe. If you are in the area you should go.
Tags: Bill Yarborough, Georgia O'Keeffe, Gertrude Stein, Janet Flanner's Paris was Yesterday, John Suazo's The Navajo Shepherdess, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Millicent Rogers Museum, Nancy Walkup, R.C. Gorman's Winona, Roxanne Swentzell, Stevie Mack, Taos, Tower Gallery