Couse is an important painter of Native American scenes, specializing in figure painting, and was centered in Taos, New Mexico. From his home town of Saginaw, Michigan, he went to study at the National Academy of Design (1884-85) then received further instruction in Paris under Bouguereau. He married fellow art student Virginia Walker. A son, Kibbey, was born in 1894 in Etaples. Some of his European scenes are known, such as AprPs la pLche (Private collection), dated 1899. It features a peasant family pausing to rest after a day of fishing at Etaples. This work later won the Shaw Prize at the Salmagundi Club. Also in France he met Joseph Henry Sharp and Ernest L. Blumenschein, future stars of the New Mexico art scene. Couse maintained a studio in New York and first visited New Mexico in 1902. He continued to summer there until 1927 when he established residency. Couse helped to found the Taos Society of Artists in 1915. He bought a former convent with dirt floors, complete with forecourt and a little bell-tower. He converted one area into a studio with a sloping north window and filled the home with his pottery collection. His paintings were finished in the studio but he worked outdoors, on painting excursions in the surrounding canyons and mountains, to take "color notes." Couse died in Taos in 1936.