79
79
Joseph Henry Sharp
SUMMER CAMP LIFE, CROW ENCAMPMENT, LITTLE BIG HORN, MONTANA
Estimate
250,000350,000
JUMP TO LOT
79
Joseph Henry Sharp
SUMMER CAMP LIFE, CROW ENCAMPMENT, LITTLE BIG HORN, MONTANA
Estimate
250,000350,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

American Art

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New York

Joseph Henry Sharp
1859 - 1953
SUMMER CAMP LIFE, CROW ENCAMPMENT, LITTLE BIG HORN, MONTANA
signed JH Sharp (lower right); also titled Summer Camp Life, Crow Encampment/Little Big Horn, Montana (on a piece of the original backing)
oil on canvas
20 by 30 inches
(50.8 by 76.2 cm)
Painted circa 1920.
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Provenance

Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 2003

Literature

Forrest Fenn, Teepee Smoke: A New Look into the Life and Work of Joseph Henry Sharp, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2007, illustrated p. 215

Catalogue Note

In 1883, at the age of 24, Joseph Henry Sharp made his first visit to the American West, traveling to Santa Fe and neighboring towns to paint the local Pueblo Indians. Inspired by this visit and a keen awareness of the steady erosion of the Native American lifestyle, Sharp set out to create a visual record of the Indian cultures that had captivated him during his travels. Ten years later, Sharp received a commission from Harper's Weekly for a trip to Taos, New Mexico to document its environs. The village and its people mesmerized Sharp, and after several return visits, he eventually established a studio there in 1909. 

Sometime after 1905, the artist also began construction of a permanent log cabin in Montana's Crow Agency that served as his home and studio in the fall and winter months. Sharp's Indian subjects are often distinguished by his sensitive and insightful understanding of their diminishing native culture. In Summer Camp Life, Crow Encampment, Little Big Horn, Montana, painted circa 1920, Sharp employs loose, energetic brushstrokes and a soft, yet colorful palette of orange-tinted browns, cool teals and hints of deep red to create an impressionistic image of Indian life on the Plains. His empathy and respect for Indian culture is evident in the composition and the palette of the camp of teepees scattered along the hillside mimics that of the landscape, emphasizing their place in nature. Sharp’s subtle demeanor contrasted with that other frontiersmen the Indians encountered and earned him respect from the tribes among which he periodically lived. Patricia Janis Broder writes, "Throughout his life Sharp was the spiritual brother of the Indian people. A quiet, serene, and patient man, like many of the Indian people he painted, he possessed an inner strength and stoic philosophy. He was able to accept the inevitable. He was intuitively perceptive and was capable of understanding the inner feelings of the individual" (Taos: A Painter's Dream, New York, 1980, p. 52). Insistent on painting directly from life, Sharp's intimacy with his subjects allowed him to carefully observe their daily activities, as he sought to depict accurately the costumes and objects associated with the various tribes.  His intense interest in his subjects often included describing their histories and personal idiosyncrasies on the back of his canvases. Sharp's skill in capturing the likeness' of the Indians and his ethnographic interest in their cultural traditions, costumes and artifacts eventually earned him the nickname "The Anthropologist." 

American Art

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New York