Monday, September 14, 2015

Taos Art Museum at Fechin House

Nicolai Fechin (26 November 1881 - 5 October 1955) was a Russian-American known for his portraits. By the time he and his family immigrated to the United States in 1923, Fechin was already an internationally known artist. 

Note: The photos of original paintings shown above and below in this post should not be reproduced without permission of the Taos Art Museum at Fechin House.

Fechin self-portrait.

Fechin's portrait of his daughter. 

Fechin's Russian House

Fechin supported himself and his family initially by portrait commissions and teaching art in New York and Pittsburgh, but the climates in those cities were ill suited for he suffered most of his life with lung disease. A fellow artist told him of the art colony and drier climate of Taos. Mabel Dodge Luhan, an art patron, invited Fechin and his family to visit Taos in the summer of 1926. 

Taos Art Museum at Fechin House

In 1927, they moved to Taos and Fechin bought an adobe house which he began renovating, redesigning and making additions. The house contains Russian, Spanish, and Pueblo architectural styles. Included in the purchase were seven acres of land and a detached studio building. 

Fechin learned carving from his father and his remarkable skill in this discipline is evident throughout the Fechin House. Shown above is a cabinet which Fechin built to house his carving tools which he employed in building each individual door of his home. 

 A closer look at his extraordinary talent at carving and design.

Fechin also designed the unique light fixtures and door hardware in the home. Part of his training at the Imperial Art Academy in St. Petersburg included architecture and theatre design.

Fechin did not use woodworking power tools.

The Taos Art Museum at Fechin House not only features Fechin's hand-carved furnishings and art, it also exhibits the works of over 50 Taos artists including many paintings by the original members of the Taos Society of Artists. Above and below are just a few of my favorites.

Study In Sunlight, Taos Indian
Joseph H. Sharp

From left to right: 

War Bonnet Shadows
Bert G. Phillips

Indian Fireside
Eanger Irving Couse

Portrait of John Reyna
William H. Dunton

The Entrance
Joseph H. Sharp

Fechin's studio which now serves also as the Museum Gift Shop.

The Taos Art Museum at Fechin House also has beautiful gardens as shown above and below.

Since we began full-time RVing in 2011 Evin and I have traveled to almost every state in the Continental United States. Few places that we have visited have had the impact that the Fechin House had on me. And it was not the art of the Taos Masters. I don't know whether to call my experience spiritual or magical; but, for me it was beyond special. It is remarkable what Nicolai Fechin was able to accomplish with Fechin House in just a few short years in Taos.

For a too brief moment in time the Fechin House was a home to Alexandra, Eya and Nicolai. The Fechin's marriage ended in 1933 and Nicolai and Eya left Taos. During my visit I could sense Nicolai Fechin working many long hours a day, painting when the light was right, then working on the house late into the night driven by the same creative passion that is easily seen in his paintings.

Taos Art Museum at Fechin House
227 Paseo del Pueblo Norte
Taos, New Mexico  87571
(575) 758-2690
Call for Summer & Winter Hours
Closed on Mondays

No visit to Taos should be complete without time spent at the Taos Art Museum at Fechin House. 


  1. Steve thank you for sharing this astonishing story. Shows what people can get done when they are watching TV all night every night. It boggles my mind that he had to leave his beloved home after six short years. I too, as you, am haunted by the story. This house is unbelievably beautiful for his own health he needed to stay there. His wife could've lived anywhere. I'm saddened by this story I'm going to do more research. Thank you for sharing. His paintings are fabulous and his Woodwork .amazing

    1. Yes, it is quite the tragic story. It is an amazing place - a labor of love.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Hello Mr. Conrad - I am the new administrator here at the Taos Art Museum and I wanted to ask your permission to use one of your quotes from this blog about the museum in our mailings?

    Thank you,

  4. Hello Mr. Conrad - I am the new administrator here at the Taos Art Museum and I wanted to ask your permission to use one of the quotes in your blog here in our membership mailings?

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Peter,

      Please feel free to quote my comments or use any of the photographs from Puppy Paths. Evin and I have very fond memories of our visits to the Taos Art Museum at Fechin House.