Thursday, February 4, 2016

Blanche Chloe Grant: Painter, Muralist, and Historian

Olive Rush, Blanche C. Grant, and Edith Pennewill in Howard Pyle's Studio
ca 1911
New York, New York
Blanche Chloe Grant was Born in Leavenworth Kansas and grew up in Indianapolis. She graduated from Indianapolis High School, where her father was principal, and went on to attend Vassar College in New York. Grant did not take any art classes at Vassar due to her parent's stern Victorian attitudes. Determined to be an artist, later, while living in Bridegwater and Tauton, Massachusetts, Grant studied with Francis Mortimer Lamb, then went on to the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (1906-1908), followed by study at PAFA, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia. Her study at the Art Students League in New York with Howard Pyle and Frank Noyes resulted in her association as an artist in Pyle's circle working in Wilmington, Delaware and, by 1914, she was working as a magazine illustrator and landscape painter. She established a studio in New York.

Blanche Chloe Grant
Indian Tales, Taos
ca 1922
Oil on canvas
In 1916, Grant accepted an associate professorship in the art department of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln and held the position until 1920 with a short break as a YMCA secretary in Le Mans, France. During a vacation, Grant traveled to New Mexico and fell in love with the art colony Taos. She decided to stay and became one of the community's most active members. In 1922, Grant served as editor of the Taos Valley News and in time became a leading historian and ethnologist of the region. She lectured often and wrote several important books on Taos including When Trails Were New: The Story of Taos, 1934. 

Blanche Chloe Grant
ca 1934
Southwest Heritage Series
Sunstone Press
Reluctant to share information with strangers and determined to maintain their traditional way of life, the Taos Indians chose not to speak with strangers about their culture. They were willing to communicate with people they knew and trusted to properly share their stories and Grant was one. She assured the Taos Indians that the written word would be a source of information for their descendants and a permanent accounting of their lives for future generations.

Blanche Chloe Grant
ca 1925 (original)
Southwest Heritage Series
Rio Grande Press
<i>Taos Indian with Bowl</i>
Oil on canvas
18 x 22 inches
Signed: lower right
Blanche Chloe GrantTaos Indian with Bowl
ca n.d.
Oil on canvas
18 x 22 inches
Grant was active in Taos as a painter, muralist, and etcher and was also a member of the local art association. She painted portraits of Kit Carson, the frontier scout, and Lewis A. Garrand, Taos pioneer and author. She also painted Native Americans, pueblo life, New Mexico landscapes and exhibited widely.
Treadway Gallery Fine Paintings sales leader
Blanche Chloe Grant
Touch-Me-Not Mountain, Ute Park, New Mexico
ca 1928
Oil on board
20 x 16 inches
Blanch Chloe Grant
Oil on canvas
24 1/4 x 33 inches

Her work can be found in the collections of the County Courthouse and Harwood Foundation in Taos and in the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles. 

An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West, Phil Kovinick and Marian Yoshiki-Kovinick, University of Texas Press, Austin, 1998, p. 116.
AskArt,, retrieved February 4, 2016.
Zaplin-Lampert Gallery,, retrieved February 4, 2016.
artnet,, retrieved February 4, 2016.

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