Art in Taos Ski Valley also offers a lift

VScome for the skiing; stay for the art.

Book a room at the Blake, an 80-room boutique hotel in northern New Mexico Taos Ski Valleyand you’ll get a bonus: a museum-caliber art collection that immerses guests in the cultures and history of the Land of Enchantment.

The hotel’s hundreds of artworks — paintings, lithographs, historic photos, prints, pottery, collages, textiles, iconic early ski memorabilia, animal relics, furniture, Navajo rugs, and Native American tools and artifacts — cover the hallway walls, guest rooms, lobby, restaurant, spa and yes, even the bathrooms.

Take a look in the lobby restroom and you’ll find photos of actors Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper taken while filming “Easy Rider” in 1968. Yeah. There’s Fonda on Captain America, the heavily modified, custom-built 1952 Harley Davidson, cruising through Taos Pueblo.

And the hallway leading to these bathrooms features 14 exquisite polychrome woodcuts by the German Gustave Baumann (1881-1971). The prints reflect pueblo life, landscapes and architecture in New Mexico. Baumann lived and worked in New Mexico for nearly 50 years, having fallen in love, like so many artists, with northern New Mexico when he passed through in 1918.

During our four-day stay at The Blake, Lauryn Mangat, a hospitality manager who has a background in art history, led a tour through the five-year-old property and provided narration on many works. of art.

Hospitality Manager Lauryn Mangat tells the story of the artwork throughout the Blake Hotel in Taos Ski Valley in northern New Mexico. This wooden wardrobe was commissioned by the owners of the hotel. The artist has sculpted a ski lift scene on the front of the cabinet. Photo by E’Louise Ondash

The Blake Collection represents artists and artifacts from the early 20th century to recent years, she told us. “When they built the hotel, the owners wanted the interior to reflect the culture of the region.”

Consequently, among the collection are works by members of the Taos Society of Artists (1915-1927), who helped establish the then-tiny Taos as an internationally renowned center for the arts. Also featured is New Mexico’s most famous artist, Georgia O’Keeffe.

“We have a complete set of his lithographs,” Mangat said. “We know there are other sets, but we don’t know how many are complete.”

O’Keeffe came to Taos in 1929 to heal from a broken relationship and fell in love with the land and the people. She explored the rugged mountains and desert of the region, and her painting of the San Francisco de Asis Mission Church in Rancho de Taos became an icon for Taos.

‘Trailing Homeward’, a painting by German-born artist Walter Ufer (1876-1936), hangs in the Blake Hotel. Ufer was a member of the elite Taos Society of Artists (1915-1927) and had relationships with Taos Pueblo Indians who served as his role models. Ufer’s workshop still exists in the city of Taos. Photo by E’Louise Ondash

The hotel’s third-floor hallway features rare historical photographs showing life at Taos Pueblo, one of the oldest communities in the United States, in the late 1800s and early 1900s. floor show “illustrious people” – mostly artists – who frequented Taos in the early 20th century, when the city began to attract those seeking a new environment for their creativity.

Right at the entrance to 192, a restaurant in The Blake, is a buffalo skull mounted on the adobe fireplace.

“This is from Taos Pueblo,” Mangat explained. “We hosted their holiday party a few years ago. Instead of a monetary payment, we have set up a trade for a Taos Pueblo Bison. We were then able to use the meat from that bison in dishes at 192 until it was gone. We very much value and respect our relationship with Taos Pueblo and it was great to be able to do this business with them.

Unlike the arts community and Puebloan cultures, skiers, whose history dates back to 1955 when German immigrant and world citizen Ernie Blake (1913-1989), his wife Rhoda and their three children founded Taos Ski Valley . Others looked at the pitch and thought Blake was crazy, but he proved them wrong. Their history is commemorated in street names, the Blake Hotel and in many photos throughout the hotel.

“Taos is an incredible mountain,” says Burt Skall, director of Snow Sport Services and responsible for 250 employees. “It has a lot of challenges, but also the opportunity to provide lower level experiences and it allows people to grow. When they figure out how to go with the flow… (and) use the mountain energy in a positive way, it this is where it gets fun.

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