Louis Catusco (1927-1995)
Egypt #6 1966
oil and acrylic on canvas
48 x 48 inches
48.75 x 48.75 inches framed
Signed lower center; titled verso
Distinguished corporate collection, Minnesota
Private collection, Virginia
A painter, an enigma, and a beloved member of the Taos Moderns, Louis Catusco (1927-1995) was free and sophisticated in his use of the decisive played against the happy accident. He continued to evolve with each successive canvas, provoking the eye and stimulating the intellect.
A Navy veteran from World War II, Catusco used his GI Bill benefits to study art at the Brooklyn Museum Art School in the 1940’s. Of all the mystics, poets, eccentrics and visionaries among the Taos Moderns, Louis is the most enigmatic. In 1950 he came to Taos to work with Louis Ribak at the Taos Valley Art School, settling here permanently in 1963. After winning many awards, both local and state, Louis dropped out of the Taos art scene to continue his work in solitude.
Catusco placed a high value on experimentation and his paintings are an expression of his feelings on the act of artistic creation. His art operates on a deep level from a personal, primary spirituality. His late collages are dynamic expressions of inspired obsession emanating from sources, both primal & mysterious. They elude simple classification, giving Catusco’s legacy an air of mystery.
In his last years, Catusco became even more removed from society, limiting his contact with the public to occasional letters to the editor of The Taos News. A pack of unusually vicious dogs further insured his privacy.
Like many struggling artists he both hid from attention, (once leading Taos art journalist Tricia Hurst on a mad chase through the Safeway grocery store trying to avoid an interview), while, at the same time, complaining about the lack of rewards given to his artistic pursuits.
His works are in several collections, including the Omaha National Bank, Omaha, NE; the Midland Federal Savings, Denver, CO; the Museum of Fine Arts Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM; as well as numerous private collections.
His works have also been exhibited at the Stables Gallery, Taos NM; Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, MO; Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM; El Paso Museum of Fine Art, El Paso, TX; Dallas Museum, Dallas, TX ; Joslyn Art Museum, Joslyn, MO; and the Oklahoma Art Center, Oklahoma City, OK .
Biographical sources: Taos News; David Witt, “Modernist in Taos”