Howard Cook (1901-1980) was one of the best known of the second generation of artists who moved to Taos. Beginning his association with Taos in 1926, he became a resident of the community in the 1930s. Cook remained until 1972 when he relocated to Roswell, New Mexico. His career accomplishments included two Guggenheim Fellowships, election as Academician in the National Academy of Design and numerous prizes and awards from art competitions. He developed a national reputation as a painter and muralist, but was also one of the premier American printmakers of his time. While his printmaking spanned five decades, perhaps his best work, as well as the greater part of his output, was made in the 1920s and 1930s.
Additional biographical material on Howard Cook:
Cook, a native of Massachusetts, studied at the Art Students League in New York City and at the Woodstock, New York art colony. There he met and developed a lifelong friendship with Andrew Dasburg (1887-1979) who was one of New Mexico's premier painters. He met Barbara Latham during his first trip to Taos, marrying her in 1927. His prints were recognized from early in his career with one-person exhibitions at the Denver Art Museum (1927) and the Museum of New Mexico (1928). He won numerous honors and awards over the years, including selection in best-of-the-year exhibitions sponsored by the American Institute of Graphics Arts, the Brooklyn Museum, the Society of American Etchers, and the Philadelphia Print Club, among many others.
His first Guggenheim Fellowship took him to Taxco, Mexico in 1932 and 1933; his second in the following year allowed him to travel through the American South and Southwest. Cook also painted murals for the Public works of Art Project in 1933 and for the Section of Fine Arts of the Treasury Department in 1935. The latter project, completed in Pittsburgh, won him a Gold Medal from the Architectural League of New York. One of his most major and most successful commissions was for a mural in the San Antonio Post Office in 1937.
He and Barbara Latham settled in Talpa, south of Taos, by the end of the 1930s and remained there for over three decades. During the remainder of his career he concentrated increasingly on painting, leaving home from time to time to take on visiting professor assignments at several universities. He also volunteered in World War II as a Artist War Correspondent where he saw action in the Pacific. By the time he moved from Talpa to Roswell in 1972, he had forged one of the most successful careers of any New Mexico artist of his time.