Plein Air Heritage: W. Herbert Dunton -
Taos Artist W. Herbert Dunton Painting Outside, NM. Photographer: Edward Kemp, ca. 1925. Courtesy of the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (Negative #LS.0966)

As a plein air painter, you are part of one of the largest art movements in history. Learn about those who have helped start this movement in some way, and be inspired to continue your own journey.

Artist W. Herbert Dunton (1878-1936)

Following our focus on artists whose paintings centered on conservation and preservation, we feature the early Taos, New Mexico, painter and printmaker W. Herbert Dunton. He was passionate about preserving the vanishing spirit of the Old West in his oil paintings, murals, and lithographs.

Dunton grew up working as a ranch hand and cowboy, studied at the Art Students League of New York, created illustrations for major magazines, and ultimately struggled with financial and health setbacks during the Great Depression.

Dunton is shown in this hand-tinted photograph working in New Mexico on a plein air painting of a cowboy on horseback.

Watch a documentary about the outdoor painting movement to learn more about its history and evolution:

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– Online art conferences such as Plein Air Live
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– Incredible art retreats
– Educational and fun art conventions, and much more.

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  1. How can you make a video about the history of plein air painting and leave out Charles Hawthorne and his brilliant student Henry Hensche?!?!?? This omission tells me that someone did not do their homework. You need to right this wrong. Henry Hensche is probably the greatest plein air artist in art history!!!


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