Visual exuberance

203 Fine Art exhibits the estate collection of one of Taos’ finest abstract artists

By Virginia L. Clark
Posted 5/18/18

Adeïne de la Nöe was her own kind of rebel.

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Visual exuberance

203 Fine Art exhibits the estate collection of one of Taos’ finest abstract artists


Adeïne de la Nöe was her own kind of rebel.

She found Taos compelling in its freewheeling, anything-goes artistic spirit and alt-lifestyles. She died of surgical complications in 1988 while her 30-year life’s-work retrospective was going on at the Harwood Museum.

De la Nöe’s oil and mixed-media canvases are on view in a new show and sale of the collection, which is planned to open with a reception Saturday (May 19) from 4-8 p.m. at 203 Fine Art, 1335 Gusdorf Road.

“Adeïne was a later addition to the Taos Moderns, but a most welcome addition,” 203 Fine Art’s gallery director Eric Andrews said last week, mentioning the Taos Six (Ray Vinella, Walt Gonske, Ron Barsano, Julian Robles, Robert Daughters and Rod Goebel) as one example of an art group given a push by the vibrancy de la Nöe brought to Taos in the ‘60s. “Because of her, the moderns (see sidebar) went on for another 10 years. Modern art in Taos reclaimed it’s relevance because of Adeïne.”

According to the late Taos artist and writer Linda Tasch, in a preview of de la Nöe’s 1988 memorial retrospective for The Taos News, “Artist Earl Stroh described de la Nöe as, ‘a serious modern painter, one who never sold out’ “ – high praise from one of Taos’ most highly recognized international artists. Tasch, incidentally, was a strong abstract artist in her own right.

De la Nöe taught both adult and grade school art classes while continuing her own artist adventures as a painter, printmaker and craftsperson. De la Nöe was ahead of the modernist curve.  Tasch notes how one of de la Nöe’s work resembles work done by Spanish master Tapies. “A check of the date Tapies created his piece with the cutout hand and footprint shapes shows that de La Nöe’s piece was done more than a decade before the Tapies. It is convincing evidence that de la Nöe’s ideas were often far ahead of her contemporaries,” Tasch notes peremptorily.

Director Andrews states online de la Nöe was more interested in the emotion that propelled her work to completion rather than the “idea” itself. “Follow the painting rather than the idea in mind” is how she described her process of abstraction.

Born in 1912, and raised in France, de la Nöe emigrated to the U.S. in 1956 and studied under Maurice Kantor and Hans Hoffman in New England. The Pratt Graphique in New York awarded her a scholarship for 1960-61. She also attended the Blatt Potterie Ceramique.

But she was outward bound and wanted the wide open spaces of the West. It was on a trip to California that de la Nöe stopped in Taos and fell in love with the light. Once hooked, she soon returned and set up shop in an old Talpa adobe, where collectors and quasi kin still reside.

De la Nöe described herself as a “simple country girl,” according to Andews. In 1936 and ‘37 she studied at the Beaux Arts in Lille, France. In 1938 she painted a mural for the Press Pavilion at the International Fair at Lille and later studied at the Grande Chaumiere in Paris. But she left, Andrews reports her stating, because it gave her “claustrophobia. When I paint, I don’t have a foot on this earth. I’m in a dream.”

Lining 203 Gallery’s north walls are large, typically bold expressionistic paintings of work ranging from strong, thickly colored landscapes, mostly semi-abstract and nearly all painted in a rich, almost swash-buckling impasto style.

De la Nöe’s love of the Southwest is clear as three or more pieces represent Utah’s Canyonlands National Park scenes (“Arches 12,” c. 1980), plus an Alaskan glacier scene and most certainly the Río Grande Gorge and surrounds.

Her color cacophony “Breathless”(oil on canvas c. 1960s) is pure music to the eyes with deep clear blues and radiant yellows, punctuated by a startling orange flare, and strong cadmium red notes, either receding or blooming, however each viewer may perceive.

She waxes from brilliantly colorful and brash to delicate, some with blocky shapes like monolithic rock formations, others reverting to pen-and-ink-finessed crosshatchings or watercolors, but always, expansive vistas, moving evermore outward or inward, never still.

For more information, call the venue at (575) 751-1262 or visit


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