Born: Springfield, Massachusetts 1901
Taos painter, etcher, muralist, teacher
Howard Cook studied at the Art Students League from 1919-21 with Dasburg and in Europe. He began work as a commercial artist. From 1922 to 1927 he was an illustrator for Century, Scribner’s, and Harper’s, traveling on sketching assignments to Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America. In 1926, Forum sent Cook to Taos for woodcuts to illustrate “Death Comes for the Archbishop.” Cook remained in Taos for a year and a half, specializing in graphic. By 1931 he had been represented in “50 Prints of the Year” four times. Next Cook turned to murals. On fellowships 1932-33 and 1934-35 he studied fresco in Mexico and sketched scenes of poverty in the American South for murals in Pittsburgh and San Antonio.
Cook settled in Taos in 1935 with his wife, the artist Barbara Latham. Most of his work was in painting and murals. During WWII, Cook was an artist for the US Navy. He became a teacher in New Mexican universities and a guest professor. By the end of the 1940s his landscapes were moving toward the abstract. His scenes of Indian dances went beyond the reality of earlier painters, into a personal view of the essence of the movement. His palette was generally confined to earth colors. In the 1950s Cook exhibited collages.
Resource: SAMUELS’ Encyclopedia of ARTISTS of THE AMERICAN WEST,
Peggy and Harold Samuels, 1985, Castle Publishing