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Oscar Edmund Berninghaus

(1874 - 1962)
Of all the members of the Taos Society of Artists, St. Louis native O.E. Berninghaus was the one with the most extensive background in the graphic arts.

Beginning in his teens he worked at a commercial lithography business during the day while studying at the St. Louis School of Fine Art at night. Embarking on a career as an illustrator, he traveled to the West in 1898 on assignment for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad and made his way to Taos, where he met and befriended Bert Phillips—the first of the Taos Society artists to establish permanent residence in the town. From that point on, Berninghaus returned to the Southwest every summer and became a founding member of the Taos Society in 1915. He moved to the town permanently in 1925.

Berninghaus was fluent in a variety of graphic media and produced etchings, lithographs, monotypes, and block prints. The etching ‘Patient Ponies’ is a fine example of his precise line and highly articulate crosshatching work. The subject is classic Berninghaus—a theme he returned to time and again in his oeuvre, producing dozens of scenes of horses idling at a hitching rail outside of an adobe home or saloon.

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