Kenneth Chapman, New Art Museum, Santa Fe – South Front, 1916, watercolor on paper, 10 1/4 x 27 in. Collection of the New Mexico Museum of Art. Museum acquisition, before 1918 (1833A.23D). Courtesy/NMMA
SANTA FE — That Multitudes May Share: Building the Museum of Art opens Friday, Aug. 14 at the New Mexico Museum of Art.
“This building that we have erected expresses something of our gratitude for, and appreciation of, these artists. It is an effort to worthily display their works, to bring them to the attention of the world, to the end that multitudes may share our pleasure.” — Edgar L. Hewett, “On the Opening of the Art Galleries,” Art and Archaeology VII, nos. 1-2 (January-February 1918)
That Multitudes May Share looks at the story behind the creation of the Santa Fe style, the process that led to the building the Museum of Art in 1917, and considers the history of the New Mexico Museum of Art’s influential Pueblo Revival building.
The building’s architects, Rapp and Rapp, are most remembered for creating a simple and straightforward style that came to be known as Santa Fe style.
The brothers’ personal interest in the variety of architectural types distinct to New Mexico was largely rooted in concepts of Hispanic and Pueblo architecture, specifically as seen in the Mission churches.
This style that would guide New Mexican design and architecture in the years to come coincided with the then widely held belief that Santa Fe establish an architectural style directed toward enlivening local culture and generating tourism.
The Museum of Art was the third iteration of a Rapp and Rapp building using historic, regionally specific inspirations as the basis for the design. Specifically the museum’s design was derived from their New Mexico Building at the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego, California.
On view will be photographs of the museum’s interior and exterior during construction and nearing completion, original plans and watercolor renderings, as well as a visual exploration of the many influences upon the building’s creation. New Mexico’s regional style in regards to furniture and architecture culminated at this time, and are captured in these images as well as in the exhibit.
As with the architecture, furniture design at this time, articulated through surface decoration and carving, reflected a “new” old regional style of Spanish Colonial furniture. Sam F. Hudelson and Jesse Nusbaum are credited with the distinct look of the New Mexico Museum of Art’s furniture and interior architectural details.
Some of the original furniture created by Hudelson will be on display.
Hudelson, recognized for inaugurating the local renaissance of hand-made and hand-decorated furniture, also did the ornamental woodwork inside the building, such as carving the beams and corbels.
The exhibition was curated by Christine Mather. Mather is the author of numerous publications, such as Santa Fe Style, Santa Fe Houses, Native America: Arts, Traditions and Celebrations, and True West: Arts, Traditions and Celebrations.
She is a retired curator at the Museum of Art and served on the Historic Design Review Board in Santa Fe and is currently a board member of The Old Santa Fe Association, which aims to promote, preserve, and maintain the culture, traditions, and history of the city and county of Santa Fe.