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Olive Rush Show Closes


Seldom Seen: Works on Paper by Olive Rush

The exhibition of little-known watercolors, drawings and studies by Olive Rush opens at El Zaguán, 545 Canyon Road, Suite 2, Santa Fe, New Mexico on Friday, October 6, 2017, and runs through Friday, October 27. The exhibit of works from 1895 to 1955 is organized by the Foundation in collaboration with the Santa Fe Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and curator Bettina Raphael. The Olive Rush Studio, currently the home of the Quaker Meeting House located at 630 Canyon Road, will also be open during the opening reception on October 6 from 5-7pm. Raphael will deliver a members-only talk on Olive Rush, her work and the featured works in this exhibition on Thursday, October 19 at 3pm.

Historic Santa Fe Foundation in collaboration with the Santa Fe Quaker Meeting presents Seldom Seen: Works on Paper by Olive Rush, an exhibition of watercolors, drawings and studies from local collections by the inimitable New Mexico artist. In addition to the approximate 35 artworks, we will host a small photographic display of images from Olive's life and work. The Foundation will offer cards with original prints by Olive Rush along with copies of Stanley Cuba’s 1992 catalogue, Olive Rush: A Hoosier Artist in New Mexico in the gift shop. HSFF is also happy to partner with Collected Works who will donate the proceeds from the sales of Jann Haynes Gilmore's recent book Olive Rush: Finding Her Place in the Santa Fe Art Colony.
Olive Rush (1873-1966) Biography
Born into a traditional Quaker family near Fairmount, Indian, Olive Rush studied in art schools throughout the East coast and Europe. She was mentored by a variety of established artists including Howard Pyle, Richard E. Miller, and instructors of at the New York Art Students League. Rush established herself as a successful illustrator in New York City and a portrait painter in Chicago before moving to the Southwest and purchasing a farmhouse in Santa Fe in 1920. This became her studio and home on Canyon Road for the next 40 years. Here she tended her admired garden, sold her art and took in travelers and young people. The Olive Rush Studio is now the home of the Santa Fe Monthly Meeting of Friends (Quakers) and is still preserved much as she left it. Through her art, Rush documented and elevated both the cultural and natural landscapes of New Mexico. Mastering various media, Rush became best known for her ethereal watercolors and her New Deal era wall murals including 'true frescos'. Her work was shown across the country including at the Corcoran Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, and the New Mexico Museum of Fine Art, as well as in many major galleries. An early modernist, she was adventurous and experimental in her artwork, embracing surrealism and abstraction early in her career and becoming increasingly non-figurative in her later works. After seeing the Armory Show of 1913, Rush said, "We found we could paint as we liked."
Rush became a major player in the early Art Colony of Santa Fe, and a friend and collaborator with many of the writers and artists drawn to the community. She had an especially close relationship with Jane and Gustave Baumann. She was an active member of various artistic groups including the Santa Fe Artists' Guild with Andrew Michael Dasburg and William Penhallow Henderson, the Rio Grande Painters which included Cady Wells and Paul Lantz, and national organizations promoting women artists. In New York, she has shared a studio with Georgia O’Keeffe and later in New Mexico they shared a cat, Anselmo. She inspired and helped train the first generation of contemporary Native American artists in the Southwest which led to "The Studio" art movement at the Santa Fe Indian School. Rush was a mentor to many young local artists and advocated for both Hispanic and Native American causes.
In both her art and her life, Olive Rush was led by her Quaker values of simplicity, reverence for life, and faith in good works. As a result, Olive Rush was a social activist, outspoken in the women’s suffrage movement, a champion of pacifism, a volunteer for hunger relief and support of refugees after World War II. In her art, she aspired to capture a quality expressed by the Chinese principle, 'The spiritual rhythm in the movement of life'. As noted in the El Palacio article of 1925: "Miss Rush's paintings of Santa Fe showed her to be a poet looking for things of the spirit rather than actualities." (Olive Remains in City, El Palacio, Dec. 1, 1925, p. 233).
Curator Bettina Raphael's Statement
An interest in Olive Rush grew out of my involvement over the past several years with the Santa Fe Quaker Meeting, which is housed in the Olive Rush Studio. I was drawn to Olive’s story, a single woman venturing out to the wilds of the Southwest in 1920, who forged a life and an artistic reputation for herself here. I share her love of place, admire her feminist independence, and have found inspiration in her work for my own explorations in watercolor. Throughout my 35 years as an art conservator, I have remained passionate about art history. That passion led me to study Ms. Rush's work and archives where I am still uncovering a rich blend of visual clues and personal insights. I hope viewers to this exhibition find similar inspiration for their own artistic journeys.  

Contact: Jacqueline Hill at or call 505.983.2567 for more information or to RSVP for the October 19, 2017 Salon El Zaguán with Bettina Raphael.