Robert Daughters is recognized as one of the Southwest’s Master Painters. Yet he began his career far from the high desert Southwest in Kansas City, Mo., achieving prominence as a commercial artist.
In the late 1960’s, Daughters walked away from a successful career in advertising, moving to Santa Fe and, later, Taos, New Mexico, where he was to begin his long and prolific life as an award-winning expressionist, painting the primitive high desert landscape which he came to love.
Redefining himself in his new surroundings, Daughters’ transition to fine art was challenging. Instead of a client’s whim or the fashion of the day, he studied traditional artists and painted in a somewhat academic manner. Robert Daughters' earlier works were in a realistic, academic vein, and consisted of many charcoal drawings of Southwest Indians, oils of New Mexico landscapes and Pueblo scenes.The work that followed was linked to the Taos Six, a venerable group of ‘en plein air’ painters, co-founded by Daughters, who promoted and exhibited their works together. He received the Best of Show Award, the Governor’s Purchase Award and the Merit Award at the NM State Fair Show in 1972.
A pivotal point came in the late 1970's when the artist embraced an impressionistic style and abandoned contrived subject matter for more familiar scenes. Daughters’ developed an aesthetic influenced by Post-Impressionist artists, especially Van Gogh and Bernard. His style changed to include a technique he referred to as “cloisonnism,” in which blocks of jewel-like colors were often outlined in black. The use of this technique lent to Daughters’ painting a new simplicity and luminosity equal to his vision of the Southwest, often causing his subjects to vibrate with movement. It was this change in artistic style that would propel Robert Daughters career into the statosphere.
The "Taos 6" (minus Rod Goebel) at Shirley Bett's house. (Left to Right) Ray Vinella, Robert Daughters, Ron Barsano, Walt Gonske and Julian Robles
The "Taos 6"
(Left to Right standing) Robert Daughters, Rod Goebel, Ron Barsano, (Left to Right seated) Ray Vinella, Walt Gonske.