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William Penhallow Henderson
Feast Day: San Juan Pueblo
about 1921
oil
22 x 30 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Alice H. Rossin in memory of Dr. Joshua C. Taylor



Henderson became a member of the Taos Society of Artists after moving to Santa Fe in 1916. Feast Day: San Juan Pueblo documents an important religious procession in the Southwestern pueblo of San Juan, the only New Mexican town with two church buildings—the small Loretto Chapel and the larger Church of San Juan. Henderson witnessed many such local events, often from horseback, and without the aid of camera or sketchbook, which were forbidden at such sacred ceremonies. Relying on his vivid memory, the artist captures the light and brilliant color of the New Mexico landscape, while his simplification of form reveals the essence of the Feast Day celebration—the villagers, the pueblo architecture, and rolling hillside.