Among the numerous artists to document the Northern New Mexican Pueblo Indian was the painter and lithographer, Joseph Imhof. The Brooklyn-born artist was largely self-taught; he began his career as a lithographer for Currier & Ives. He realized eventually the importance of formal training and broke off his work with Currier & Ives to study for a number of years in Brussels, Munich, Paris and Antwerp, where he met and sketched Indians in the Buffalo Bill traveling exhibit.
Imhof's interest in Indian lore and accoutrements soon developed into a serious pursuit which led him to New Mexico in 1907. He settled first in Albuquerque and began a serious anthropological study of Pueblo Indians. In 1929 Imhof moved to Taos, where he purchased a studio which faced the sacred mountains of the Indians and which was adjacent to Pueblo land. For the rest of his life Imhof painted large, rather simplified oils which document the religious expressions of Pueblo Indians. The paintings focus more on ethnographic data than on artistic expression.
Imhof's work is sought out for its portrayal of a by-gone era. It appears to be simple in effect, but the viewer quickly learns to share in the intimacy of what Imhof chose to paint.