Eanger Irving Couse
Born in 1866, Eanger Couse was born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan. He left school at age 16 to study art in Chicago and New York City. From modest circumstances, Couse supported himself by doing odd jobs including painting houses. In 1887, he traveled to Paris and began studies at the Academie Julian under classical master William-Adolphe Bouguereau.
In Paris, he enjoyed a successful career and met his wife, Virginia Walker, a fellow American artist. In his early career, Couse painted with pastel colors in the French Barbizon style that embraced soft forms and a natural environment. He created bucolic landscapes, often with sheep on hillsides.
Couse also had a strong interest in Native American culture. This fascination was sparked early by the peaceful Chippewa people who lived nearby during his childhood in Michigan. Though his pastoral scenes were more popular at the time, Couse’s wife encouraged him to paint the Native American subjects he loved.
In 1902, Couse began a summer residency in Taos, New Mexico. He painted Pueblo Indians there for the rest of his life, depicting their beauty and tranquility, rather than the harsh savagery portrayed in Western lore at the time. Over the course of his long and distinguished career, he was honored with many major awards.