American Art

American Art

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 23. WINOLD REISS | OFFERING TO THE SUN.


Auction Closed

June 26, 03:10 PM GMT


70,000 - 100,000 USD

Lot Details



1886 - 1953


signed WINOLD/REISS (lower right) and titled Offering to the Sun (on the reverse)

mixed media on paperboard

52 ⅞ by 30 ½ inches

(134.3 by 77.5 cm)

Painted circa 1930.

McColl-Frontenac Oil Co. Ltd., Toronto, Canada

Toronto Stock Exchange, Toronto, Canada, circa 1937-38 (gift from the above)

Mr. Bob MacIntyre, Toronto, Canada, 1983 (gift from the above)

Private collection, 2009 (by descent)

Acquired by the present owner from the above

Winold Reiss emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1913 after studying at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Shortly after his arrival to the states he established the Winold Reiss Art School in New York by 1915. The artist’s prolific career was spent largely as a portraitist and illustrator for numerous American print publications and railway companies whose commissions produced a vast body of work that centered on documentary portraiture. 

Reiss was drawn to the American Northwest and after securing a commission from the Great Northern Railroad in 1927 embarked that summer on an expedition. He traveled through Montana to visit with the Blackfeet tribes and then on to Alberta, Canada, to observe the Blood Indians. From 1927 through the 1930s, Reiss executed a large volume of portraits that centered Native American people, Offering to the Sun represents one of the more elaborate and skilled portrayals completed by Reiss during an extremely prolific period. The two figures depicted in the present work are believed to be Heavy Head and Tall Man, two prominent Blackfoot Indians who resided in Alberta. The two men are engaged in a ceremonial offering to the sun, Heavy Head is seen lifting what is likely a ritual tobacco pipe and Tall Man kneels at his feet. 

Reiss’ contribution to the documentation of Native American life through his uniquely modern portrait style pay homage to his subjects as prominent historical figures and illustrate the great affection he felt for the indigenous people of North America.