Jozef G. Bakos
In 1921, Jozef Bakos founded Los Cinco Pintores (the Five Painters), Santa Fe's first formal art association. Along with colleagues Will Shuster, Walter Mruk, Willard Nash and Fremont Ellis, Bakos pursued the ideal of creating art for society as a whole – art for the common man and collector alike.
Bakos was born into a simple family of Polish ancestry in Buffalo, New York. The oldest son of seven children, Bakos demonstrated a talent for drawing at an early age. He studied at the Albright School of Art in New York and at the University of Colorado, Boulder, under John E. Thompson. When a flu epidemic closed the school, Bakos ventured to Santa Fe to visit his childhood friend, Walter Mruk.
Bakos permanently moved to Santa Fe in 1920, where he made beautiful wood furniture and doors, a skill he learned from his father, to supplement his income until his fine art career were established. Bakos, who referred to himself as an expressionist artist, painted in a progressive style that was bold and innovative. He was an active member of the community, involving himself in both social and political events concerning the city and state. He taught art at the local high school from 1940 until his death. Bakos, considered a delightful and compassionate man, became a legend of the Santa Fe art community.
Bakos participated in numerous one-man and group shows throughout his career. He exhibited paintings in many noteworthy 20th century events including the Pan American Exhibition in Los Angeles in 1926, the Corcoran Biennials of American Painting from 1928-1937 and the Carnegie Institute Exhibition in 1941. The Whitney Museum of American Art awarded him the purchase prize in 1931, and he was the only New Mexico artist included in the Art Institute of Chicago's 1939-40 show entitled "Half a Century of American Painting."