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Ernest Martin Hennings (American, 1886-1956)


Also known as:  E. Martin Hennings

Birth Place: Penngrove, NJ, USA


Who is Artist Ernest Martin Hennings?

Ernest Martin Hennings was an American painter and illustrator whose portraits and landscape paintings of the American Southwest transcended both the commercial and high art worlds. 

Originally from Penngrove, New Jersey, Hennings moved around a lot as a child, eventually ending up in Chicago. While there, he received training at the Art Institute of Chicago, excelling at academic realism. After years of working as a commercial artist and muralist, Hennings moved to New Mexico.

This move would represent a turning point both in his artistic and personal life. In 1921, Hennings moved to Taos fulltime where he became a member of the Taos Society of Artists. During this time he focused on paintings of the American West, particularly the Navajo Indians of that area. His paintings became known for his almost impressionistic backgrounds and vivid colors which helped to highlight his subjects’ movement. 

What type of art did Ernest Martin Hennings make?

Ernest Martin Hennings was a painter best known for his contribution to the Taos Society of Artists in New Mexico. His work, which was widely acclaimed during his lifetime, focused on the people of the American Southwest. Often using bright blues, turquoise, and brilliant yellows, Hennings helped define the nascent Taos aesthetic and gave birth to a new generation of American art. 

How often do Ernest Martin Hennings paintings come up for auction?

Ernest Martin Hennings was popular during his lifetime and that popularity has only increased with time, and as such his paintings have frequently come up for auction. While he has an extensive auction, more recently it has been harder to find a Hennings on the open market. Prospective buyers are advised to be bullish in their bids if they find an especially appealing Hennings painting, as they may not have another opportunity at it.

How much is an Ernest Martin Hennings painting worth?

An Ernest Martin Hemmings work can sell for half a million or more depending on the piece, making even minor pieces quite valuable in worth. Many of his paintings have sold for a million or more and almost all have exceeded even their high estimates. This is due to a number of factors, including scarcity and the popularity that Hennings has with the rest of the art community (and buyers). 

Which Ernest Martin Hennings painting is the most valuable? 

The highest price ever fetched for an Ernest Martin Hennings painting was $1,553,000 for Indian Summer (unknown) which happened on November 29th, 2007. It beat its high estimate by almost double (700k) and edged out Streamside (unknown) to become the most valuable painting by Hennings ever sold. It’s a standard Hennings, including much of his trademark aesthetics and color choices.

What are the most famous paintings by Ernest Martin Hennings? 

Beyond Indian Summer, there are a number of famous Ernest Martin Hennings paintings that are an exemplar of his style and aesthetics. Four Riders (unknown), The Taos Twins (1923), and Taos Indians Homeward Bound (1920) all typify what made Hennings well-known the world over. They feature people on horseback, dwarfed by the American southwest landscape, painted in the familiar colors of the desert. 

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