For auld lang syne.
Taos lost a bright beacon of light over the Solstice. Arturo Ramos passed away, and with him, went an entire era.
Arturo was the last living son of the iconic Millicent Rogers who made Taos her final home. For those of us who knew him and had the pleasure of joining him at lunch or at a dinner, the memories of this quintessential gentleman will remain indelibly imprinted in our psyches. Raconteur par excellence, debonair, elegant and extremely well-traveled, well read and informed, with stories (and opinions) to spare, Arturo was the last of a breed.
I knew him for a long time. I knew his brother Paul first. I was working at Duane Hopper’s Buffalo Dancer Gallery during the early 90’s, and Bob Watkins (another Taos jewel), Duane and I would have breakfast with Paul every day at the Garden Restaurant on the Plaza. I adored Paul and so when he introduced me to his brother one summer, of course I took to him as well.
It turned out that Arturo and I had a rather unusual friend in common. The South African Designer, Geoffrey Bradfield is a life long friend of mine. Geoffrey and Arturo’s glamorous wife, Jackie shared a box at Ascot where for a time, they both raced the horses they bred.
They were neighbors on Park Ave, in NYC as well. Small world. As Robert Mirabal once noted, “All roads lead to Taos.”
Arturo’s passing reminded me that Taos, no matter what people would like to imagine it to be, has always been a foothold for mavericks and bohemians, for artists and other creatives, drawn here not only by the light and the space, but by the rugged individuality these mountains afford one. Here we can be authentically who we are.
That is what has always set Taos apart. That’s why Millicent, D.H, Mabel, Dorothy, Fechin and all the rest, landed and stayed. Even Georgia with her self-imposed exile in Abiquiú, was captivated by Taos.
This confluence of earthy simplicity, tough love mentality, combined with transplanted sophisticated tastes and standards makes it a tough little town to beat.
Art is what it’s always been about up here and great art still happens here.
The Paseo has served to remind some people of that and will continue to grow and attract more Art lovers to Taos anually. It’s an important event.
Next week I’ll have a post up on another great gallery, Hulse/Warman.
Thought I’d end the old year and start the new one, reflecting on what really sets Taos apart.
It’s all about Art.
Happy New Year Everyone!
Portrait of Arturo Ramos by Paul O’Connor.
Auld Lang Syne lyric by Robert Burns