Saturday, December 16, 2023

Gene Kloss (1903-1996) A Printmaker in Taos

Gene Kloss (1903-1996) Alice Geneva Glasier

Gene Kloss 
“Enduring Sanctuary” 12” x 15”, frame size 21” x 23” (etching, Drypoint & aquatint) 1973, 
50 of the edition of 50
$8,000. SOLD
Thousands of artists have drawn or painted the Ranchos Church, the huge adobe buttresses a unique composition. PK

In 1925 the newly wed Gene & Phillips Kloss honeymooned in New Mexico. “The first site of the vast Taos Plateau left us breathless.” Phillips. In Taos Canyon, Gene “did innumerable paintings and drawings” and produced etchings on a small portable press (a sixty-pound machine) which she had Phillips set up on a tree stump near their campsite. The rare examples of Watercolors, Pen & Ink, Drawings and even Oil Paintings show how immensely talented she was, but Etching (and the variations of etching she developed) was her preferred almost obsessive way of creating art. From my own personal experience at SMFA I understand just how obsessed printmakers can become.

It is through her etchings that Kloss shines as a master of light & darkness, setting the stage onto her rectangular shaped paper surface. Looking at the etchings of Rembrandt, you’ll clearly see just how much of a master of the art form of etching she became. Kloss prints glow and shine through the darkness, the drawing and tonal quality of her hatch marks are precise and complicated. Her forced perspective will draw you into the scene allowing you to be a part of it as if you were witness to a moment in time.  

Gene Kloss' work was exhibited in Paris at the Musee Jeu de Paume in 1938, as part of a leading New Mexican artist exhibition alongside Ernest Blumenschein, Georgia O'Keeffe and John Sloan.

The Klosses attended ceremonial dances at Taos Pueblo so regularly that once when they missed one, their Pueblo friends sent someone to the Kloss home to make sure they were alright. Kloss never owned a camera, but constantly sketched and relied on an impeccable visual memory. “Gene makes memory sketches of indian activities from her own point of view, with respect for the unknowing Indian point of view.” Phillips Kloss

“Her very best work gives us a chance to be in that moment with her. She purposely priced her work, under market value. She wanted to make it accessible to as many people as possible. Gene depicted the life of the people as she saw it at the time (1930’s). In some ways she was capturing something that had been around for centuries. What she saw and what she recorded in her own memories, she passed down to us. Taos has always been, and still is, a place where women who happen to be artists got more attention than other artists (colonies). Taos was a place where artistic talent really was appreciated.” David Witt, for Colores, PBS 10, 23, 2021

Many women artists find a great lack of interest and respect towards their respect work, Kloss used "Gene" (a masculine form of Geneva) when signing her artworks, to avoid prejudices of gender. Since 2019 much like Hilma af Klint, museums, curators and the public alike are searching for that extraordinary ‘undiscovered’ female artist, Kloss has been ‘hiding’ in plain sight here in Taos for almost 100 years.

“What Gene Kloss can catch in metal and oils, Phillips Kloss grasps and paints in words.” Hal Johnson, for Berkley Daily Gazette 11, 14, 1942

‘The Woman in the Woods’ Phillips Kloss

’tis not the grove green hills you love nor blue-green sea,

’tis not the lonely luring trail, ’tis She

and puts the verse in water, rock, and tree.

’tis not the search for the truth that makes your life seem real

nor sense of power. ’tis love’s ideal

that gives the purpose to your thought, the zeal

which even single souls vicarious feel.

Gene Kloss 
“Forsaken Church (on the Edge of the Great Plains) 9 7/8” x 17 7/8” (etching, drypoint) 1979, 
9 of the edition of 25
.…untouched by vandals, it simply had to be sketched. We didn’t inquire its history. It is a sermon to space. PK

Gene Kloss
“Approach of the Victors” 11 3/8” x 7 7/8”, frame size 14.5” x 17.5” (drypoint) 1947, 
Proof from the edition of 10

Gene Kloss 
“Dance of Domingo” 10 5/8” x 13 5/8”, frame size 18” x 22” (drypoint & aquatint) 1955, 
Proof of the edition of 40

Gene Kloss 
“Taos Eagle Dancers” 10.75” x 13.75”, frame size 20” x 23” (drypoint & aquatint) 1955, 
Proof of the edition of 35
The Eagle dance simulates the movements of the great bird beating its wings to rise from the ground, lifting in the air, soaring in the sky.” PK

Gene Kloss 
"Years Ago in Arroyo Seco"
5 5/8" x 8 1/8" (drypoint etching) 1981
Artist Proof (stated) Edition of 50
Available at R.B. Ravens, Ranchos de Taos

Gene Kloss
"Christmas Processional at Taos II"
9 7/8" x 13 7/8" (drypoint impression) 1948
From the edition of 50 
This was printed by Kloss after the 250 edition printed for the Society of Print Connoisseurs which is titled "Processional - Taos"
Available at R.B. Ravens, Ranchos de Taos

Gene Kloss 
“Watching the Clowns” 11 7/8” x 8 7/8”, frame size 17” x 21” (original watercolor) 1954
Available from Santa Fe Art Auction March 13, 2024

Gene Kloss 
“Rio Grande Canyon (slide trail)” 13.75” x 9.75”, frame size 27” x 20” (original Pen & Ink Drawing) 1936
The basaltic Taos river gorge drops into the basaltic Rio Grande Gorge, a ledge road hanging over a precipice once the main road between Santa Fe and Taos. You went up in low gear and down in low gear. You hugged the inside rut when the road was icy hoping your car wouldn’t decide to make a ski slide out of it. PK
Available from Santa Fe Art Auction March 13, 2024

Gene Kloss
“Singers Over the Bridge” 10 7/8” x 13 7/8”, frame size 22” x 19.5” (etching, drypoint) 1961, 
48 of the edition of 50
Available through Wilder Nightingale Fine Art, Taos

Gene Kloss
“Zero Weather” 8 3/4” x 14 3/4”, frame size 23.5” x 19.5” (drypoint, aquatint) 1960, 36 of the edition of 50
Available through Wilder Nightingale Fine Art, Taos

‘Winter Sonnet’ Phillips Kloss (1902-1995)

When Taos was Taos years yond ago,

valley and mountains sky-enchanted,

streams aflow with melting snow,

fields sheen green new-ploughed new-planted,

there you could live in an ageless age,

live in the cedars, live in the sage,

cedar and sage, wild rose, wild plum,

Indian song and Indian drum.

’tis not to deny the mind’s delight -

imagine, explore, invent, create -

’tis living more natural, primitive, right

fulfilling the faith that you advocate.

Don’t seek tomorrow, go back there

in the pine, in the spruce, in the balsam air,

in the cedars and sage, wild rose, wild plum,

fear nothing that will come.

(Poetry works from “Taos Chants” by Phillips Kloss 1974)

Gene Kloss
“Magpies & Red Tailed Hawk” 14 7/*” x 8 7/8”, frame size 17” x 21” (etching, drypoint) 1962, Proof from the edition of 50
Available through Wilder Nightingale Fine Art, Taos

They ganged up on him, yak yak sacked at him for trespassing on their territory. He regarded them with imperturbable disdain. Handsome birds, black and white and iridescent green, they made lively patterns in the stark trees. PK

Gene Kloss 
Taos Devil Dancers 20” x 22” Giclee
$100. (unframed) SOLD
Partly an entertainment dance, partly an exorcise dance, the Devil Dance is put on by a group going from house to house. PK

Gene Kloss

“Morning Worship” 22” x 18.5” Giclee

$100. (framed) SOLD

Gene Kloss An American Printmaker, A Raisonne
2 Volume set
written by Gene Sanchez

Gene Kloss Poster, framed $75.

Photograph by Dick Spas of the Gallery A storefront on Kit Carson Road

“It was about 1937… when I first saw her etchings, I remember I stopped by La Fonda Hotel (Taos) and her etchings were spread out in a back room. There was one - ‘Snow and Adobe’  (1934) - I had to have it. I had 68 cents with me and Dixie Yapple, who ran the gallery (Taos Heptagon Gallery), said ‘Why don’t you go ahead and get it. You can pay a little at a time.’ You know that was my grocery money, but I bought that etching for $5.” Mary Sanchez, from Pasatiempo, Santa Fe New Mexican 7, 7-13, 2000 

“Kloss was amazingly humble and talented. She set out to capture the images and history of New Mexico and accomplished it like few others. The quality and integrity of her work is hard to compete with.” Jules Sanchez, from Taos Magazine, May-June 2005

Gallery A scenes at 1996 opening for Gene Kloss Works of Art

Gallery A was the exclusive dealer for the artworks of Gene Kloss for over 50 years. The artworks shown here by Gene Kloss are the last of the Sanchez family collection the former owners of Gallery A. 

Two Graces in the Taos historic district at 105 Barela Lane is the exclusive representative for these last few prints from the Sanchez/Gallery A collection. We will have this selection available at the gallery from December 16, 2023 - January 3, 2024, after this time period the artworks will be available on a by appointment only schedule.

Christmas Card of Enduring Sanctuary in Snow
Mezzotint printed by Bill Jackson

Prints by Taos Artists also available from the collection of the Sanchez Estate 

Emil Bisttram 
“Ranchos Church” Lithograph 12” x 18” 

Eric Gibberd 
Linocut Taos Pueblo 17” x 20” 

Pat Dagnon 
“Dance” Crane Etching 15” x 12” 

Pat Dagnon 

“Unison” Cranes Etching 15” x 12” 


Joseph Imhoff
Thank You Lithograph

Janet Lippincott 
Portrait 1985 35” x 27” 

Janet Lippincott 

“Blue Still Life” 34” x 27” 


Nicolai Fechin Portfolio of 16 Prints 

Barbara Latham
“Mexican Kitchen” print

Howard Cook
“Tio Vivo” print 1950

Ted Egri 
Lithograph Church w Steeple 9.5” x 12” 

Japanese print on rice paper
Ando Hiroshige