New Acquisition: Louis Catusco, “Black Mass IV”

Louis Catusco (1927-1995)

Black Mass IV  1960s

acrylic on masonite

29.25 x 21 inches

30.5 x 22 inches framed

Signed lower center; signed, titled, and inscribed “Taos, N.M.” and “Acrylic, 300.00” verso


Distinguished corporate collection, Minnesota

Private collection, Virginia

A Navy veteran from World War II, Louis 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.

Source: David Witt, “Modernist in Taos”