E.I. Couse

Born in Saginaw, Michigan, Eanger Couse is primarily known for paintings of Taos Pueblo Indian males sitting or squatting by camp fire light, suggesting that Indians were peaceful, dignified human beings and not the savages of Western lore.

Growing up in Saginaw, he lived among the Chippewa Indians and as a youngster did sketches of these native people. From a poor family, he was a determined artist who studied for three months at the Art Institute of Chicago, having earned just enough money by painting houses, and then he returned to Saginaw to earn more money so he could go to New York City which he did in 1885. He enrolled in the National Academy of Design and did many odd jobs to support himself, and after two years returned to Saginaw, again to earn money.

Couse settled in a rural town in the province of Pas de Calais on the English Channel and painted bucolic genre scenes, invariably with sheep on hillsides. Although he had stylistic influences from Europe, he became more and more determined to create an art that was uniquely American and was increasingly fascinated with Indians as subject matter.

In 1902, Couse visited Taos, New Mexico for the first time, having heard about it in Paris from his friend, Joseph Henry Sharp. In Pueblo Indians, Couse found the subject matter that seemed right for him, but he had difficulty finding ones to pose because of their belief that the soul of the sitter passes into the picture once it is completed.

Although he posed models for sketching outdoors, he continued to paint in his comfortable studio in a French academic manner. His models for most of his New Mexico Indian figure painting were Ben Lujan and Geronimo Gomez, Taos Pueblo residents. The tone is poetic and peaceful and reflects a civilization that is at peace with itself.

Bio from askart.com