Painter. Not until his late twenties did Wells decide to become an artist. After a comfortable youth in Southbridge, Massachusetts, he studied and traveled widely, pursuing interests in music and the visual arts. In 1932 he arrived in New Mexico and almost immediately fell under the influence of Andrew Dasburg, who became his mentor for the next several years. Portraying the southwestern landscape in watercolor, Wells moved through various modernist idioms. His early work incorporated gestural, calligraphic lines suggestive of Chinese ideograms. Later he investigated the structure of natural forms and the pattern-like appearance of the landscape. Influenced by Dasburg, Raymond Jonson, and Georgia O’Keeffe, Wells developed a personal semi-abstract style that brought considerable praise from his peers. He also deserves recognition for donating his extensive collection of santos to the Museum of New Mexico. At Wells’s recommendation, E. Boyd—who had originally invited Wells to New Mexico—became the museum’s first curator of Spanish colonial art.
Museum of New Mexico. Cady Wells, 1904–1954. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico: School of American Research, 1956.
Duncan, Kate C. “Cady Wells: The Personal Vision.” In Cady Wells: A Retrospective Exhibition. Albuquerque: University Art Museum, University of New Mexico, 1967.
Udall. Modernist Painting in New Mexico, pp. 199–201.
Charles Eldredge, Julie Schimmel, and William H. Truettner Art in New Mexico, 1900–1945: Paths to Taos and Santa Fe (Washington, DC: National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 1986)