Eanger Irving Couse (1866-1936) Pictographs  20 x 36in (Painted in 1934.)

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Lot 14
Eanger Irving Couse
(1866-1936)
Pictographs 20 x 36in

Sold for US$ 156,250 inc. premium
Eanger Irving Couse (1866-1936)
Pictographs
signed and inscribed 'E-I-COUSE · N-A-' (lower right)
oil on canvas
20 x 36in
Painted in 1934.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Jim Fowler's Period Gallery West, Scottsdale, Arizona, 1979.
    (probably) Acquired by the late owner from the above, by 1996.

    Literature
    N. Woloshuk, E. Irving Couse, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1976, p. 99, illustrated.
    S.H. McGarry, Honoring The Western Tradition: The L.D. "Brink" Brinkman Collection, Kerrville, Texas, 2003, p. 69, illustrated.

    We wish to thank Virginia Couse Leavitt for her kind assistance in cataloguing this lot. This painting will be included in her forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist's work and she has prepared the following essay:

    In his 1934 painting titled Pictographs Couse depicts his model Jerry Mirabal seated cross legged at the base of a rock cliff. Numerous ancient images appear on the rock surface behind him. Jerry is shown chiseling a new image into the surface and he appears much like one of the petroglyphs himself. In describing this subject Couse wrote, "The Rocky Mountain region abounds in pictographs cut into the rocks by the ancient Indians representing figures of men & animals & symbols of natural phenomenon. Having no written language the Indians depicted their deeds & legends by pictorial representation on skin or the rocks...."

    Couse had painted numerous pictograph subjects earlier. This 1934 painting, however, differs dramatically from previous paintings due to its elongated format. It was painted specifically for the American Lithographic Co. (ALCO) to use on their calendar. In 1914 ALCO began publishing Couse paintings for the Santa Fe Railway calendars, but in 1916 it also began using Couse paintings on its own calendar series. These were distinctive because of the elongated format preferred by ALCO.

    The paintings used by the Santa Fe, and those originally used by ALCO, were reproduced from 24 x 29 inch paintings. In order for ALCO to accommodate its elongated format, it was necessary in the printing process to crop and lengthen the image. Over the years, Couse and A. Robert Nelson, the art director at ALCO, developed a flawless relationship. Nelson's correspondence expressed total confidence in the artist and always ended with an expression of appreciation. In the late 1920s, Couse began to paint subjects with ALCO in mind, using their elongated format. Pictographs, painted in 1934, is an outstanding example. ALCO bought the copyright for this painting in 1935 and used it on that year's calendar. Couse retained the painting and it was later sold.
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