Lot 117
  • 117

Joseph Henry Sharp

120,000 - 180,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Joseph Henry Sharp
  • Crucita—Taos Indian Girl
  • signed JH Sharp (lower right), CRUCITA/TAOS INDIAN/OR/THE WEDDING DRESS (on the reverse); also titled again CRUCITA/TAOS INDIAN GIRL, dated Painted in 1924 or 1925 and signed again J.H. Sharp (on a label affixed to the backing board)
  • oil on canvas
  • 16 by 20 inches
  • (40.6 by 50.8 cm)


Fenn Galleries, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Los Angeles Athletic Club, Los Angeles, California
Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 2000


Forrest Fenn, The Beat of the Drum and the Whoop of the Dance, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1983, no. 1093, illustrated p. 234
Forrest Fenn, Teepee Smoke: A New Look into the Life and Work of Joseph Henry Sharp, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2007, no. 1093, p. 233, illustrated p. 232

Catalogue Note

By the 1870s, national enthusiasm for the lands of the American West was becoming increasingly popular. Reports from the 1871 Hayden Survey to the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone River had captured the country’s collective imagination and led many who had witnessed the unrelenting encroachment of industrialization in the East to urge for the preservation of these mythic terrains. In 1872, Yellowstone became the world’s first national park, promising centuries of Americans the opportunity to witness the grandeur of the West firsthand. To the awe of many, popular artists Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran brought these lands to life on canvas and exhibited works from their western expeditions frequently in the East.  Throughout the nineteenth century and into the present day, artists, filmmakers, and storytellers have embraced the challenge of depicting the heroic lands of the American West and their profound relationship to national pride and identity. Situated in northern New Mexico, the area of Taos has attracted countless artists with its unique artistic heritage, distinct landscapes, and seemingly unspoiled way of life. “Every direction offers an ever-changing panorama of clear blue sky, white clouds and raging storms. The light and atmosphere have a magnetic quality which has inevitably changed the palette of all who have tried to capture on canvas or paper the subtlety and brilliance of the colors of northern New Mexico” (P.J. Broder, Taos: A Painter’s Dream, Boston, Massachusetts, 1980, p. 3).  As early as the Indian surveys in the 1840s, prominent artists including Worthington Whittredge, John Mix Stanley, and Thomas Moran found inspiration in the land in and around Taos. The Cincinnati artist Joseph Henry Sharp first visited New Mexico in the summer of 1893 and was particularly drawn to Taos. Sharp, who devoted his career to painting Native American culture, left to study in Paris the following two years and told several of his colleagues about his experience in New Mexico. The artists Bert Geer Phillips and Ernest L. Blumenschein took Sharp’s advice and made a detour to explore the region on their trip to Mexico. While Blumenschein returned to New York, Phillips remained in New Mexico and began talks to found an art colony in Taos. In 1912, these three artists along with Oscar E. Berninghaus, Eanger Irving Couse, W. Herbert Dunton, started the Taos Society of Artists. Through annual exhibitions and traveling shows of its members work, the group attracted numerous other artists including Walter Ufer, Victor Higgins, and Nicolai Fechin.

The present work depicts Sharp's favorite model, Crucita. It is estimated that she posed for as many as sixty-five of his paintings from the time she was a young girl to a woman of middle age.