Barbara Latham Biography

Barbara Latham




Barbara Latham, painter, printmaker, illustrator, and author, was born to Allen and Caroline Walker Latham on a rural New England farm in Walpole, Massachusetts on 6 June 1896. The Latham family moved to Norwich, Connecticut where he father taught science at the Norwich Free Academy. At eight years-of-age, Barbara was given a scholarship to attend Saturday afternoon classes at the academy. Her formal training began at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York where she graduated in 1919. Latham also spent several summers at the Art Students League Summer School in Woodstock where she studied with modernist painter, Andrew Dasburg.

Latham worked in the commercial art field designing illustrations for holiday cards and produced illustrations for Forum magazine and the New York Times Sunday magazine. In 1925, she visited Colorado and then Taos, New Mexico to find regional subjects for her holiday card illustrations. Latham recalled her first impressions of Taos: “I had lived under the brilliant western sky all summer, but I had never experienced such brilliance, contrasted with such fragrant desert...I loved Taos from the moment I stepped off the train.” Latham returned the following summer and was introduced to her future husband, Howard Cook, by the Taos artist Victor Higgins.

Cook and Latham wed in Santa Fe in 1927. The couple purchased a house on the Talpa ridge near Taos in 1938 and lived there until 1973 when they moved to Roswell, New Mexico. Due in part to Cook’s ill health, their final move was to Santa Fe in 1976.Latham painted in watercolor, oil, and egg tempera. Regarding her printmaking, she worked in etching, wood and linoleum engraving, and lithography. She also produced illustrations for the books Pedro, Nina and Perritto and Maggie. In 1934, Latham had a solo exhibition at the Weyhe Gallery in New York. She was associated with the Taos Moderns and was part of Mabel Dodge Luhan's circle of artists and writers.

Barbara Latham’s work is represented in the permanent collections of the Denver Art Museum, Colorado; the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas; the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; the Roswell Museum, New Mexico; the New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe; and the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. She was a member of the National Association of Women Artists.

Barbara Latham died in Santa Fe, New Mexico on 28 May 1989.