An appreciation of the sketches of John McHugh ’41

Author: School of Architecture

Professor Emeritus Norman Crowe's new book John McHugh: Travel Sketches compiles the designs of John McHugh, a 1941 graduate of the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture and longtime Santa Fe, New Mexico architect.

At Notre Dame McHugh was a student of Francesco Montana, who inspired him to a lifelong pursuit of sketching. McHugh’s journeys took him throughout New Mexico and to other parts of the United States, Mexico, and Europe. The selections in Crowe's volume are from the eight travel-worn sketchbooks McHugh left behind after his death in 1995.

“McHugh’s eye for detail, for capturing the essence of scenes and settings, and for expressing the salient qualities of both the man-made and nature is remarkable,” says Crowe. “By assembling these sketches in one place, I hope others will be inspired by his observations to see the familiar and the new in our environment in a new way, as well as to be inspired to try their own hands at travel sketching.”

McHugh designed the first Santa Fe Opera Pavilion and served the Archdiocese of Santa Fe as chief restoration architect of Spanish mission churches on the Rio Grande Pueblos.

Travel Sketches Norman Crowe

The exhibition “The Art of John McHugh: A Retrospective of the Work of The Noted Santa Fe Architect And Artist ” will be on display at the Matthews Gallery in Santa Fe from March 15 to March 28. McHugh’s paintings will be sold by the gallery, with the proceeds going to the Bob Woodruff Foundation to fund counseling for soldiers who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress syndrome and brain injuries. Woodruff will speak at the exhibition opening.

Crowe is an architect and a visiting professor at the University of New Mexico. He is author of books and articles on architecture, urbanism and the built environment, and nature. Crowe taught drawing and sketching to architecture students where he worked alongside McHugh’s mentor, Francesco Montana, while teaching in the School of Architecture's Rome Studies Program.