1950 Taos Dinner Menu

The painting on the cover of this menu is by Frederic Kimball Mizen, a Chicago artist whose work we’ve seen in Santa Fe advertising before, including on the cover of yesterday’s booklet. As this painting suggests, Mizen spent some time at the Taos art colony. Though he had pretensions of being a fine artist, he was mainly an illustrator and illustration gimmicks–such as his picture of bears drinking Coca-Cola at Old Faithful Inn, crept into his paintings as well.

Click image to download a 1.1-MB PDF of this menu.

This painting of Taos Pueblo is a good example. It might have been a candid illustration of Pueblo Indian life, but the instead the eye’s attention is drawn to the girl or young women in the center foreground. The least Native-American-looking person in the group, she is breaking the “fourth wall” by looking directly at the viewer. Is she trying to sell us jewelry or just trying to sell the painting? Either way, she completely detracts from the realism and grandeur of the scene.


1950 Taos Dinner Menu — 1 Comment

  1. You know, I never did like that painting, but I really didn’t know why until you pointed out that girl in the foreground. She has the only detailed face in the painting, and the way she stares at you is kind of creepy. When I cover her face, it’s a much more enjoyable painting. I see tongue sandwiches were still on the menu in 1950, but at least there were no brains or sweetbreads. For some reason, Santa Fe kept calling the BLT the “lettuce, bacon and tomato sandwich”, and did so right up to Amtrak took over. I’ve never been able to figure out why. I often wonder who the people were that ordered prunes for desert, especially since prunes were available in abundance at breakfast. Irregularity must have been a serious concern to people in 1950. 🙂


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