Lot 53
  • 53

Henry François Farny 1847 - 1916

400,000 - 600,000 USD
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  • Henry François Farny
  • Through the Pass
  • signed H.F. Farny with the artist's cypher and dated 90 (lower right)
  • gouache on paper
  • 20 3/4 by 13 1/2 inches
  • (52.7 by 34.3 cm)


Private Collection, Cincinnati, Ohio, circa 1950
By descent to the present owner (his grandson)


Cincinnati, Ohio, Indian Hill Historical Museum Association, Henry F. Farny: Exhibition in Honor of the Nation's Bicentennial, 1975, no. 10, illustrated
Cincinnati, Ohio, Cincinnati Art Museum, 1978 (on loan)
Cincinnati, Ohio, The Taft Museum, The Vanishing Frontier: Henry F. Farny, 1847-1916, June-October 1997


Denny Carter, Henry Farny, New York, 1978, pp. 28, 74, illustrated

Catalogue Note

Henry Farny cultivated a deep interest in and respect for Native American culture from an early age. His family emigrated from France to America when the artist was five years old. They settled in the remote area of pine forests in Warren County, Pennsylvania, where Farny first became interested in the local Indians. He often accompanied his mother to a nearby reservation where she gave medical treatment to the members of the Onandaigua tribe. Although the family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio after only a few years in this region, he remained forever fascinated by Indian culture, and it would come to define his aesthetic as both an illustrator and an artist.

Farny executed Through the Pass after an 1884 trip—likely his third—to the American West. In September, the artist and his party of 14 men traveled by boat down the Missouri River from Helena, Montana to Fort Benton. The course took them through an extremely mountainous region that was essentially inaccessible via foot, horse or other modes of transportation. Working on assignment for Century magazine, Farny was charged with capturing the distinctive scenery he observed. The sketches he made on site during this trip likely provided the foundation for his later paintings of the mountains, of which Through the Pass is one.