December 14, 2018 Taos, New Mexico

The Harwood Museum of Art

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The Harwood Foundation - The Early Years

In 1923 Elizabeth Case Harwood (Lucy) incorporated the Harwood Foundation, housed in the complex of buildings once known as “El Pueblito” that she and Burt had developed into an art salon, studio and lodging house. When the property was turned over to the University of New Mexico in November 1935, the deed of conveyance specified that “said property shall remain the property of the University of New Mexico in perpetuity and shall be kept intact in Taos, N.M., by the University and utilized as an educational, cultural, and art center in connection with the University.”

The original structure, c. 1813, belonged to Ms. Rosa Trujillo. In 1861, long before Taos was an artist’s colony, the property was purchased by Captain Smith H. (J.) Simpson. Simpson, a dashing, literate and affluent New Yorker who served as Kit Carson’s clerk (Carson was practically illiterate), was the son of a commission merchant and grandson of a revolutionary who fought in the Battle of Trenton. In 1888, Captain Smith Simpson purchased the surrounding land—where the Harwoods’ library would stand—from John Gabino Martinez. In 1916 Burt and Lucy purchased the building from Captain Simpson, by now the father of six children with his wife, Josefita Valdez. Among his children, Maggie would become Mrs. Albert Gusdorf and Stefania, Mrs. Ben Randall. Simpson’s oldest daughter, Anna. S. Clouthier, would sell the property to B.E. Harwood in 1916. Subsequent purchases made by the Harwoods in 1917 and 1918 from Jose Montaner formed the current boundaries of the property.

Drawing upon local adobe construction techniques, the Harwoods remodeled “El Pueblito” to become one of the earliest examples of Pueblo/Spanish Revival, or Santa Fe Style. This New Mexico architectural synthesis, dating from c. 1916, was modeled on the Spanish colonial mission churches of Acoma and Isleta, and on the two adobe ensemble buildings of Taos Pueblo.

Upon Burt’s death in 1922, Lucy found encouragement and support from friends Bert G. Phillips, T.P. Martin, Victor Higgins, William M. Frayer and B.G. Randall for the creation of a foundation, comprised of “ a library, art gallery and museum, a place where local craftsmen could exhibit their work,” according to the original articles of incorporation. The Harwood Foundation would evolve over time to become one of the most important historic and cultural institutions in the state of New Mexico.