Taos author Elizabeth Cunningham has died

Scholar was force behind 'Remarkable Women of Taos' book


A leading Taos scholar, author and arts advocate, Elizabeth Cunningham died Thursday (Jan. 18), according to her husband Skip Keith Miller.

"This morning a little before 3:00, Liz gently walked on. Pierre was with me and we are now filled with a mixture of both joy and sorrow — joy that Liz is free of the horrible restraints the ALS placed on her body and sorrow at how terribly much we will all miss her," a statement by Miller to friends and family reads.

"She was the strongest and gentlest being I will have ever known and her compassion and unconditional love was a life guide for the boys and myself.

Please pass this knowledge around for me as I am emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted right now and I want all of our wonderful friends/”family”/ communities, here and afar, to be aware of Liz’ passing."

Cunningham, who hosted the blog “Mabel Dodge Luhan and the Remarkable Women of Taos” (, also authored the award-winning book, “In Contemporary Rhythm: The Art of Ernest L. Blumenschein,” which has been called the definitive volume on this Taos art colony co-founder.

“Some years ago, I lectured on ‘Leading Ladies of Taos,’ ” Cunningham wrote. “Fascinated by the remarkable women who founded cultural institutions in New Mexico, I researched the lives and contributions of Lucy Harwood, Mary and Helen Blumenschein, Helene Wurlitzer, Millicent Rogers and Mabel Dodge Luhan."

This led the Town of Taos to launch a year-long recognition of the women who have and continued to shape the spirit and culture of Taos in 2012.

"My love affair with the American West started in college when I worked as city weed controller in Nebraska and horse and people wrangler in Colorado," Cunningham wrote in her online bio. "As curator for The Anschutz Collection (1981-1994), I organized and circulated an assemblage of premier paintings of the American West. The exhibition toured throughout the United States, to cities in Europe, and to parts of China and the former Soviet Union. In 1994 I moved to Taos."

For more, read the article on Cunningham's passing in the Thursday (Jan. 25) print edition of The Taos News.


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David Witt

LIz Cunningham was one of the important New Mexico art historians, emerging as a curator and scholar in the 1980s, and making outstanding contributions to the field of history over the past forty years. . In 1993, she was one of a small group who rediscovered the "Sacred Site," the place where Blumenschein and Phillips broke their wagon wheel in September of 1898. Her influence on promoting the authentic West, including the women artists of Taos, will live on for a long time to come

Monday, January 22 | Report this
Josie Teodosijeva

Liz was a lovely, engaging soul. She touched many lives with her wit and generous spirit. Her dedication to her curatorial work and research gave shape to an art historical narrative of the Taos artists that was uniquely her own. She touched many lives through her work and she will not be forgotten. Condolences to all of you who loved her dearly.

Friday, January 26 | Report this