Turning his back on what would have easily been a remarkably successful musical career; painter Ernest Leonard Blumenschein would instead become a world famous painter and a founding member of the Taos art community.
Blumenschein's father hoped to see his son follow in his footsteps and become a successful musician. He trained in the violin, and was so proficient that composer Anton Dvorak appointed him first violin after hearing him play a D minor scale. This did not deter Blumenschein from his hopes for a career in paintings, and while he studied at the Cincinnati College of Music, he also took classes at the Art Academy as well.
After graduation he headed to Europe, studying at the Academie Julian in Paris. When he returned to the United States he immediately began a highly successful career as an illustrator for the leading publications of the day. "McClure's" magazine sent him on a trip to the American Southwest, which began a lifelong love affair with the area. While traveling in a horse-drawn wagon, he was forced to ride into Taos, New Mexico to get a wheel repaired. He stayed for three months.
He returned home to New York, but soon headed to Paris to further his studies. He continued his illustration work throughout this time, receiving ever-increasing requests for his works, in addition to becoming involved with many leading authors to whom he provided illustrations. He also continued exhibiting throughout this time as well. He married in 1917, and the couple settled in New York, but would eventually relocate to Taos for the remainder of their lives.
Blumenschein won a staggering number of awards during his life and his paintings are in the collections of the most important museums in the world. He is considered one of the most important painters in American history.