Gerard Curtis Delano (1890-1972) Menominee Hunter 30 x 36in

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Lot 36
Gerard Curtis Delano
(1890-1972)
Menominee Hunter 30 x 36in

Sold for US$ 300,000 inc. premium
Gerard Curtis Delano (1890-1972)
Menominee Hunter
signed and inscribed '© Delano' (lower right) and signed again and inscribed with title (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
30 x 36in

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Trailside Galleries, Scottsdale, Arizona.
    Acquired by the late owner from the above, 1985.

    Literature
    R. Bowman, Walking with Beauty: The Art and Life of Gerard Delano, Denver, Colorado, 1990, p. 171, illustrated.
    S.H. McGarry, Honoring The Western Tradition: The L.D. "Brink" Brinkman Collection, Kerrville, Texas, 2003, p. 107, illustrated.

    Gerard Curtis Delano was an aspiring artist, determined to master the specific genre of illustration, from a very early age. Submitting countless drawings to Life Magazine during his teenage years, he was finally paid for an illustration mailed to the magazine in 1909, which provided him the assurance he needed to commit his career to his artistic pursuit. Soon after, Delano moved to New York in 1910 and began studies in magazine illustration at the Art Students League and the Grand Central School of Art. His most instructive teachers came to be famed illustration artists, among the most influential were Dean Cornwell and Newell Convers Wyeth.1 During the quiet summer months which provided little employment for illustrators, the artist embarked on his first trip West, in 1919, beginning in Denver, Colorado, and eventually Cheyenne, Wyoming. The artist furiously sketched and produced watercolor studies of the cowboys and ranchers that inhabited the region.

    The West became a fascination for Delano and inspired the prolific period of commercial illustrations that employed him through the next few decades. The artist's skills as an illustrator were realized in cover illustrations for Ace-High magazine, which commissioned numerous cover illustrations from the artist beginning in 1923. Work followed from many of the Western themed publications including some of the artist's most famous images reproduced by Star Magazine. As regular journeys West continued, the artist eventually visited Navajo country in 1940, which included locations such as Monument Valley, Steamboat Canyon, and Canyon de Chelly. These places were so profound an inspiration, they served as almost spiritual experiences for Delano, who endured as a deeply religious man throughout his adulthood. His work henceforth became consumed with the Indian people and their land. 2

    At center of the present work, a Menominee tribesman is seen rowing across calm waters, his profile reflected in these waters like still, mirrored glass. His canine companion is perched at the front of their vessel, seemingly the hunter's eyes and ears as they set out on the day's hunt. The Indian figure and his canoe appear in stark contrast from the landscape that surrounds them, illuminated by amber tones against the pastel water and sky. The birds that float through the sky appear hazy through the fog-like film which obscures the background of the composition from the central figures framed in the foreground. The painted symbols and jointed edges of the canoe are crafted in great detail but eventually blur into muted hues at the far end of the boat.

    Delano's use of atmospheric perspective creates the airy quality which characterizes Menominee Hunter. The quiet solitude which emanates from the present work is a characteristic exhibited in many of his most successful paintings. Delano once referred to his paintings as "designed realism."2 To this effect one can see how the present work is highly realistic in execution but decorated with romanticism for his subject, a sentiment which harkens to his training as an illustration artist. The spirited connection between human and animal was often a relationship he portrayed in many of his illustrations. The present work harmoniously combines Delano's stylistic technique as an illustrator with his favored subject matter. Menominee Hunter portrays, with great affection, the natural and human spirit of the American West.

    1 D.J. Hagerty, Heart of the Desert: The West of Gerard Curtis Delano, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2001, p. 14.
    2 Ibid, p. 18.
    3 R.G. Bowman, Walking With Beauty: The Art and Life of Gerard Curtis Delano, Denver, Colorado, 1990, p. 74.
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