art history

This article first appeared in Summer 2008 Su Casa

The arched windows and curved façade of the historic Bronson Cutting house look as surprising as a spaceship in adobe Santa Fe. Bronson Cutting, a wealthy Easterner, came west in 1910 to recover from tuberculosis. He owned the local newspaper, became a wildly popular U.S. senator, and was a player on the national political stage. His elegant home, built in California Mission Revival style, still stands and is respectfully tended by present owners Jerome and Susan Bernstein.

The old house has aged gracefully, but the kitchen, which endured several updates, needed help. The Bernsteins started with a ceramic tile mural created by artist Pedro Romero Sedeño. The mural brims with color and symbolism—a blessing sun, a reclining goddess in the shape of Sun-Moon Mountain, and fertile fields. “Our connection to the land has always been an important theme for me,” he says, “and I also feel it is important to express Hispanic and Native American culture.”

The project grew, as home projects do. Pedro added a tile backsplash, and then with the Bernsteins began looking at the unremarkable area behind the commercial range. In the end, he covered the entire wall with mountains, wildlife, musicians, and hand-glazed tiles. In two high corners he painted the moon and the magical Hale-Bopp comet that lit the night sky in 1997. Then the wall colors seemed drab and unconnected to the art, so Pedro painted those and the room’s multiple doors in bright hues.

Now the room never fails to evoke a smile. “We love the warmth and feel of it,” Susan says. “We enjoy cooking, and we practically live here.” It’s easy to understand why.

resources for this home