Meadowlark Gallery: The Artist Biographies

Oscar Edmund Berninghaus (1874-1952)
Oscar Edmund Berninghaus was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1874 and died in Taos, New Mexico in 1952. He was an important Taos painter, illustrator, muralist, specializing in the genre of the Pueblo Indians. The son of a lithograph salesman, O. E. Berninghaus was educated in St. Louis grammar schools. Even then he sold sport news sketches to the local newspapers. He began working in lithography in 1889 and while a printing apprentice in 1893 he attended night classes at the St. Louis Society of Fine Arts for three terms. In 1899, he was in the course of getting his first one man show in St. Louis when he was the guest of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad on a junket to Colorado. Intrigued by the tales of Taos he made a brief side trip twenty five miles by wagon to the still untouched village. Although St. Louis was his base, he returned to Taos each summer, remaining for longer periods until he settled permanently in 1925. His paintings were of the Pueblo Indians, the Spanish Americans, the adobes, the mountains, generally with at least one horse. Practicing as a lithographer and illustrator, his approach was direct and objective, showing the Indians as they were rather than posed. His technique was to work out of doors, painting on the scene. Compositions became more complex, his colors richer, and frequently he painted from memory at his easel with his studio.
View high resolution images of works by Oscar Edmund Berninghaus when available.