Joseph Sharp ( 1859 – 1953 )


Joseph Henry Sharp was born in Bridgeport, Ohio and early in his childhood became fascinated with Indians.  An early childhood accident left him hard of hearing and eventually left him completely deaf.  Sharp’s proficiency for drawing led him to attend the McMicken School of Design and the Cincinnati Academy of Art.  During this time, Sharp became friends with Henry Farny, who provided the young Sharp with books on Pueblo Indians.

Sharp’s fascination for different cultures would take him to Europe for the further development of his artistic skills.  He went on to study in Antwerp, Belgium and later to Munich, Germany for further refinement of his skills.  Sharp went on to attend the Academie Julien in 1895 and 1896 where he met Bert Phillips and Ernest Blumenschein; co-founders of the Taos Soceity of Artists along with Sharp twenty years later.

Sharp became known for his numerous portraits of Indians in Montana and Taos later on and remains the most prolific of all of the Taos artists with several thousand oil paintings, sketches and studies in his body of work.  In addition, Sharp was one of the most beloved of all the Taos Artists.  Sharp’s work is in the permanent colletion over over forty prominent American museums, including over eighty Indian portraits that are in the Smithsonian Institution.