A key member of the Taos, New Mexico
Society of Artists, Victor Higgins seemed much more influenced by
modernist, abstract art than the other members although much of his work
seemed realistic. From 1920, he was combining Impressionism with Cubism
and painting mostly landscapes reduced to basic shapes, giving a sense
of visual rhythm and showing geometric relationships of form and design.
He was a native of a farming community in Indiana who was inspired
towards art by an itinerant sign painter. He studied briefly at the Art
Institute of Chicago, having left home for Chicago at the age of 15 and
studying with E. Martin Hennings and Walter Ufer. For four years, he
traveled in Europe and studied in Munich, and in 1912 returned to
Chicago where an exhibition of his work at the Palette and Chisel Club
earned him national attention and the esteemed Gold Medal.
Higgins was profoundly affected at the Armory Show of 1913 in New York
by works of Marcel Duchamp and Marsden Hartley, and from that time, he
went through several phases of modernism. In 1915, he became a
permanent resident of Taos, New Mexico because of the patronage of
Chicago mayor and art patron Carter Harrison who was a key person in
getting Chicago artists to paint in Taos. Harrison had become alerted
to Higgins' skill at the 1912 Palette and Chisel Club exhibit.
Throughout his career, Higgins had many collectors from Chicago, and he
made good money for his painting during his lifetime.
In his paintings, he depicted the seemingly unchanging culture of the
Pueblo Indians and their inherent dignity as they went about their daily
life. He was known as a formal, business minded man who painted in a
Dean Porter, Taos Artists
Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art