Bert Geer PHILLIPS US, 1868-1956


"We had heard of Taos, the home and burial place of Kit Carson, of the Indian People who live in 5 storied communal houses and the beautiful Spanish girls.  Romance and Beauty: pictures to be painted: Adventure, all word of song."


- Bert Geer Phillips

Bert Geer Phillips, a founding member of the Taos Society of Artists and father of the Taos art colony, settled in Taos, New Mexico in 1898. In his youth, Phillips was fascinated by the frontiersman of the West, though he was born in Hudson, New York in 1868. In his teenage years, he moved to New York City and attended the Art Students League of New York, as well as the National academy of Design. He also lived in Paris, where he studied at the Academie Julian, befriending Ernest Blumenschein - who was an influential friend and peer throughout his career.


In 1898, Phillips and Blumenschein set out to venture towards the American West, with the goal of reaching Mexico. When one of their wagon wheels broke near Taos, the men remained, setting up a studio and beginning to paint. Phillips remained in New Mexico, establishing permanent residence. He continued to paint, deriving inspiration from the people of the Taos Pueblo and the landscape of the Southwest - creating romantic figurative scenes. He worked as a muralist, completing several major commissions and public projects. At the end of his career, Phillips lost his eyesight, but left behind a vision for future artists to create in Taos after his passing in 1956. He was known to have said, "for heaven's sake, tell people what we have found! Send some artists out here. There is a lifetime's work for twenty men."