Untitled (Fountain Formation at Red Rocks)
Józef Bakoś (1891–1977, American)
watercolor on paper
14 1/2 x 20 1/2 inches
Józef Bakoś was born September 23, 1891 in Buffalo, New York. He initially studied at the Art School of the Albright Art Gallery (today, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery) in Buffalo, New York. During that time he met painter John Thompson who became his mentor and teacher, and that of his boyhood artist friends, Walter Mruk and Augustine Korda. Having studied in Europe and seen the Paul Cézanne retrospective in Paris in 1907, Thompson introduced Bakoś, Mruk and Korda to European modernism. After permanently relocating to Colorado with his wife in 1917, Thompson encouraged the three young artists to join him in Denver. In April 1919 he included them in what became known as the city’s controversial Armory Show, a reference to the larger, groundbreaking 1913 New York Armory Show that introduced viewers to the latest currents in European and American art. A review in Denver press about the 1919 exhibition commented that Bakośes painting, Man Arising from Chaos, “might find a permanent place on the walls of a madhouse.” In the fall of 1919 Bakoś began teaching at the University of Colorado’s School of Art in Boulder, before relocating to Santa Fe the following summer. In 1921 he joined Fremont Ellis, Walter Mruk, Willard Nash and Will Schuster to form Los Cinco Pintores (The Five Painters), Santa Fe’s first modernist art group. Bakoś also was a founding member of the Society of New Mexico Painters together with Frank Applegate, Gustave Baumann, Ernest Blumenschein, William Penhallow Henderson, Victor Higgins, B.J.O. Nordfeldt and Walter Ufer. Along with Applegate, Blumenschein, Mruk, Nordfeldt and Andrew Dasburg, Bakoś taught at the summer school of Denver Chappell School of Art held in Santa Fe in 1925. That connection facilitated an invitation for him to teach for two years, beginning in 1932, at the University of Denver’s School of Art, then located at Chappell House in the Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. His painting of the fountain formation at Red Rocks was included in his solo show at Chappell House in 1934. After World War II he taught art for 20 years at Santa Fe High School. Bakoś showed in the Sesquicentennial Exhibition (Philadelphia, 1926), the first several biennials of the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York City), Half a Century of American Painting (Art Institute of Chicago, 1939–1940), five consecutive Corcoran Biennials of American Painting (Washington, D.C., 1928–1937), Directions of American Painting (Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, 1941) and at the Denver Art Museum and Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. His work is found in the Whitney Museum of American Art, Brooklyn Museum, Delaware Art Museum (Wilmington), Rose Memorial Art Gallery (Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts), Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art (Norman, Oklahoma), New Mexico Museum of Art, University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque Museum (New Mexico), Roswell Museum and Art Center (New Mexico), Raton Public Library (New Mexico), Denver Art Museum, American Museum of Western Art (Denver) and the University of Colorado Boulder.
Not currently on view
Signed "BAKOS" lower right center
Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art