William Penhallow Henderson
William Penhallow Henderson began his fine art education at the Boston Museum School, where he received the Paige Traveling Scholarship, which allowed him to study in Europe. In keeping with his solitary nature, Henderson did not join a specific atelier while in Europe. Instead he chose to explore museums and galleries on his own, studying both old masters and contemporaries. He produced his own sketches and paintings as well. These images would later serve as records of his discovery of pure color.
Upon his return to America in 1904, Henderson accepted a teaching position at the newly formed Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, where he would remain for the next twelve years. During his first year in Chicago, his European paintings were shown in Boston, Chicago and New York.
In 1916, Henderson's wife, Alice Corbin, was diagnosed with tuberculosis. The Hendersons chose the Sunmount Sanitorium in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for her treatment and subsequently moved into a small adobe house near the bottom of Camino del Monte Sol. In January of 1917 Henderson's views of New Mexico went on exhibit at the Roullier Galleries in Chicago. The show prompted a series of excited reviews and initiated a flowering of New Mexico painting without precedent.
Henderson developed a style of portraying New Mexican landscapes through sharp color contrasts. The effect however is not one of exaggeration but of iridescence. It is extremely successful both technically and artistically. Even in pen and ink, the artist draws the viewer into a landscape not through dramatic composition but through a sense of shimmering light which his drawing creates on the paper's surface.
Despite the favorable reviews, distance from the major art markets of the time affected sales of Henderson's works. He turned to architecture and the decorative arts to sustain him financially while continuing to produce paintings. In 1925, Henderson formed the Pueblo-Spanish Building Company through which he planned and built several structures in Santa Fe and elsewhere. Some of the most notable are the Miss Elizabeth & Martha White compound on Garcia Street (now the School of American Research), the House of Navajo Religion (now the Wheelright Museum of American Indian Art), and the renovation and extension of Santa Fe's historic Sena Plaza, a landmark of Santa Fe style. Henderson was also prolific in his design and production of handmade furniture. He supplied hand-made furniture and cabinetwork to clients throughout the Southwest as well as in Boston and New York.
Actively seeking works by William Penhallow Henderson.