March 2015

Taos County Courthouse Murals


When the new Taos County Courthouse was completed in January, 1934, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Public Works of Art Project commissioned four of Taos’ premier artists to paint 10 murals in the facility. The project was managed by Santa Fe artist Gustave Baumann. The four artists engaged in the effort were: Emil Bisttram, Ward Lockwood, Bert Phillips and Victor Higgins. They became known as the “Taos Fresco Quartet.” An 11th mural was completed in 1994 by renowned New Mexican fresco artist Frederico Vigil following his conservation of the original murals.


Emil Bisttram’s works in the courthouse include:Taos County Courthouse Mural-Reconciliacion

Aspiration / Asperación (no. 176)

Reconciliation / Reconciliación

Transgression / Transgresión (no. 177)












Victor Higgins’ work at the courthouse is the centerpiece of the collection. The piece is: Taos County Courthouse Mural-Victor Higgins’s Moses the Law Giver-Moises El Legislador

Moses the Law Giver / Moises El Legislador








Ward Lockwoods works in the courthouse include:Taos County Courthouse Mural-Justicia Causa Felicidad

Superfluous Laws Oppress / Demasiadas Leyes Oprimen (no. 180)

Justice Begets Content / Justicia Causa Felicidad

Avarice Breeds Crime / Avaricia Engendra Crimen (no. 179)












Bert Phillips’works in the courthouse include:Taos County Courthouse Mural-La Sombra del Crimen

The Shadow of Crime / La Sombra del Crimen (no. 181)

Obedience Casts Out Fear / Obediencia Abondana Miedo

Sufficient Law Protects / Ley Suficiente Protégé (no. 182)


Taos County Courthouse Mural-Ley Suficiente Protege











Taos County Courthouse Mural-Armonia Trae Respeto










Frederico Vigils mural is:

Respect Creates Harmony / Armonia Trae Respeto







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