Indians on the plains signed 'Edgar Payne' (lower left) oil on canvas 29 x 54in Overall: 34 x 59in
PROVENANCE: Collection of the artist Thence by descent to the present owner Private collection, Los Angeles
Edgar Payne originally began his formal art training at the Art Institute of Chicago but did not care for the instruction and soon dropped out. He continued to paint, however, joining the Chicago Society of Artists and the Palette and Chisel Club, and began traveling around the country for new subject matter to paint.
For the next several years, Edgar Payne traveled throughout the West and found artistic inspiration in a number of locations, including Laguna Beach, the Eastern Sierras and the four corners region.
Beginning in 1917 with a commission from the Santa Fe Railroad, Edgar Payne began traveling the Southwest in an effort to discover new landscapes and subjects to paint. He explored the Grand Canyon, Canyon de Chelly and Northern New Mexico, developing a new color palette to match the light and earth of the region. Along with the Sierra Mountains, the subject of Edgar Payne's best-known work, the Southwest would be a region of continued interest for Payne. As with the painters of the Taos Art colony, Payne was struck by the plight of the American Indian and their vanishing way of life. The southwest landscape and the native people were ideal subject matter for many of these paintings.
This particular painting is unusually large for Payne and the artist paid extra attention to getting the proportions of the horses and riders accurate. The horizontal format lends itself well to the massive expanse of the desert landscape. This painting has been in the same family ever since it was painted.