As a founder in 1912 of the Taos Society of Artists, Eanger Irving Couse is best remembered for his intimate depictions of Southwest Indians painted with a high finish in a distinct style of his own. As summarized by the art historian, Mary Carroll Nelson, "Couse's work contains certain recognizable characteristics: a sparsely clad Indian crouches in profile or squats on his heels; he is lit by firelight, strong sidelight, or moonlight that dramatizes his muscular form; he is engaged in a domestic act, such as drum-making, bead-drilling, wall-painting, or praying; he has a pensive withdrawn expression and is sealed in privacy...Yet he [Couse] was so involved with the Taos people that he conveyed a feeling of contact with their sacred rituals. For them, daily tasks, however repetitive, are made significant and dignified by their association with prayer, in the form of a song or an action." (The Legendary Artists of Taos, New York, 1980, p. 47) The model for the present work was Jerry Miribal of Taos Pueblo.
This painting will be included in Virginia Couse Leavitt's forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist's work.