Sangre de Cristo Arts Center Collections

Our Collections



The Gene Kloss Collection: Gene Kloss (1903-1996)

The artwork of Gene Kloss is a hidden treasure in the world of Southwestern art. Perhaps because she was a woman, perhaps because she was primarily a printmaker, perhaps because she was younger than many of the artists in the early Taos art colony, Gene Kloss is seldom mentioned when discussing the early Taos art colony. Yet she began painting and producing intaglio prints in the Taos area in the mid-1920s, and continued through the mid-1980s, yielding a body of work which is breathtaking in its scope and significance.

For six decades Kloss documented the cultures of the Southwest through her art, from images of daily life to those of rarely seen ceremonies. She and her husband Phil shared a profound respect for the land and people, which made them welcome guests among the Native American and Hispanic communities. She never owned a camera, but her skills at observation and recollection were strong, and her artworks provide insight into the dress and customs of the cultures she depicted.

Although best known for her images of Native American and Penitente scenes, Kloss found artistic inspiration wherever she was. During the early years, when she and Phil returned to the Bay Area each winter to care for their aging families, Kloss created images of the California coast. In 1965, she and Phil moved to southwestern Colorado for five years, during which time she etched vast mountain-scapes and mining towns, as well as lovely homages to Mesa Verde and Monument Valley. In 1970, they returned to Taos, where they lived for the remainder of their lives.


The Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center in Pueblo, Colorado., is the largest repository of artworks by renowned printmaker Gene Kloss, thanks to the foresight and generosity of one individual in Pueblo, Colorado. . This benefactor, John Armstrong, purchased his first Kloss print in 1979 from Gallery A in Taos, NM.



Francis King Collection of Western Art

The Francis King Collection of Western Art was founded upon the generous donation of collector Francis E. King of Pueblo in 1979.  The collection originally consisted of one hundred paintings and one bronze sculpture. At that time, it was one of the largest gifts ever given by an individual to the city and county of Pueblo. Today the collection has grown to over 425 pieces.

The collection spans over one hundred-fifty years of Western history and represents a rich diversity of styles and subject matter. It begins with artist Joseph Hitchins in 1825, and includes such greats as Gerald Cassidy, John Clymer, Gerard C. Delano, Frank Tenney Johnson, William Moyers, O. C. Seltzer, and Harvey Otis Young, Bettina Steinke, and Barbara Latham.

All of the Taos Society of Artists comprising the Western American art colony are represented in this collection including: Kenneth Miller Adams, Oscar E. Berninghaus, E. L. Blumenschein, E. Irving Couse, Herbert Dunton, E. Martin Hennings, Victor Higgins, Bert Geer Phillips, Joseph H. Sharp, and Walter Ufer.

Also present in our collection are contemporary western artists. Through the eyes of all these artists, we gain an insight into the spirit and color of the West, vividly recreating the world of the open-range cowboy, the Indians, the buffalo, the trappers, traders and scouts, the settlers, the railroads, the rugged mountains, plains and deserts — a romantic and picturesque record of a period unique to America.



The Regional and Contemporary Collection

The first collected artwork at the Arts Center was an outdoor corten steel sculpture by Chris Byars of Salida. The abstract, free-standing sculpture was garnered with money given by the Pueblo County Commissioners and the steel donated and rolled to specification by the CF & I Steel Corporation. This work set a standard to collect regional and contemporary art at the Arts Center.

The Regional and Contemporary Collection focuses on contemporary artists from Colorado and the Southwest, and has steadily grown over the past ten years. The collection includes an impressive collection of indoor and outdoor sculpture, paintings, ceramics, prints and photographs, as well as a large number of works by such artists as Orlin Helgoe and John Suhay. Our generous donors such as Francis King, Mrs. Helen Thatcher White, Mahlon and Maylan T. White have built this collection. More recently,in 2015, Charles and Jeanette Gilchrist White donated their collection of contemporary southwestern art consisting of nearly 100 pieces.



The Ruth Gast Historical and Southwest Collection

The Ruth Gast Historical and Southwest Collection consists of a significant collection of historic and contemporary bultos, retablos, crucifixes, Native American arts from the southwestern United States, and a collection of reverse appliqué molas from the San Blas Islands. The bulk of this collection was accumulated by Pueblo resident and collector Ruth Gast who donated it to the Arts Center in 1995.

Over the years, the Sangre de Cristo has received donations of objects from many local collectors, including Bishop Emeritus Arthur N. Tafoya’s generous gift in 2010 of a remarkable collection of santos, which more than tripled the Arts Center’s santos collection.



The Sculpture Garden

Consisting of 12 outdoor sculptures that filter throughout the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center Campus, the sculpture garden features a working fountain, kinetic sculptures and bronze statues that are representative of local and regional artists.  This combined with seasonal landscaping makes for an unintentional outdoor “gallery space” that can be enjoyed most of the year.