Raymond Jonson (American, 1891–1982),
Composition Five — The Wind
oil on canvas, 33 ½ x 44 in.; 85.09 x 111.76 cm
Museum purchase, 1994.20
After studying and teaching for several years in Chicago, Jonson moved to Santa Fe in 1924. By that point in his career, he was committed to abstraction. In New Mexico he developed a distinctive personal style, translating the physical environment of the Southwest into rhythmic geometric forms. Composition Five is a classic example of Jonson’s work of this period. A 1930 exhibition catalogue described this painting as having “a dancing emotional appeal [and a] modern concept…Jonson lived in the [New Mexico mountains] to get this theme. Air currents, the rebuff of wind forces…spectrum light…are all quite apparent in this design.” A champion of modernism, Jonson played a pivotal role in promoting non-representational art in New Mexico.