Howard Terpning (born 1927) Blackfeet Spectators 32 x 56in (Painted in 1984.)

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Lot 41
Howard Terpning
(born 1927)
Blackfeet Spectators 32 x 56in
Sold for US$ 792,500 inc. premium

Lot Details
Howard Terpning (born 1927) Blackfeet Spectators 32 x 56in (Painted in 1984.)
Howard Terpning (born 1927)
Blackfeet Spectators
signed, dated and inscribed '© Terpning 1984 CA' (lower right)
oil on canvas
32 x 56in
Painted in 1984.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    The artist.
    Sale, Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Gilcrease Rendezvous Exhibition and Auction of Paintings by Howard Terpning, 1985.
    Acquired by the late owner from the above.

    Exhibited
    Tulsa, Oklahoma, Gilcrease Museum, Gilcrease Rendezvous 1985: Paintings by Howard Terpning, May 3-July 7, 1985.

    Literature
    F.A. Myers, "An Interview with Howard Terpning: 1985 Gilcrease Rendezvous Painter," Gilcrease Magazine of American History and Art, vol. 7, no. 2, April 1985, pp. 16-17, illustrated.
    E. Kelton, The Art of Howard Terpning, Trumbull, Connecticut, 1992, pp. 26-27, illustrated.
    S.H. McGarry, Honoring The Western Tradition: The L.D. "Brink" Brinkman Collection, Kerrville, Texas, 2003, p. 162, illustrated.

    Few representational artists possess a resume as lengthy as that of Howard Terpning. As an illustrator he produced artwork for iconic movies, including The Guns of Navarone, Dr. Zhivago, A Man For All Seasons, The Sound Of Music and Cleopatra. He produced cover illustrations for Time, Newsweek, Field & Stream, Reader's Digest, as well as numerous others. This is the foundation on which Howard Terpning chose to devote his time fully to the art of the West and the history and heritage of Native American Indian life. Blackfeet Spectators exemplifies the attention to detail and respectful consideration to Native American culture that has put him at the top of his field.

    In an undated letter to L.D. Brinkman the artist discussed the inspiration for this work and the history surrounding its subject:

    "This painting resulted from a very careful charcoal drawing that I did in 1980. I had such an interesting time developing the faces of each man and working out the details of the clothing that I decided to do a larger version in oils so that I could get all of the rich color that was so evident in their beadwork [sic]. The plains Indians always had many ceremonies to go to and there were always spectators as well as participants - hence the title."

    Terpning is renowned for his attention to detail, as evident in the fine beadwork, jewelry and leather clothing on each Indian pictured in the present work. One can make out each and every object on these spectators. The faces of each Indian are similar, as if related, but distinctively different. The focus is on the men themselves, and yet the viewer is curious as to what they are watching. A dance ceremony, a speech, a solemn procession? No clues are revealed on the proud faces of each sitter or the landscape in which they find themselves. We are simply left to our imaginations. The weathered faces remind us of a generation of elders and a culture rapidly fading away. Perhaps the artist intended to suggest that the sitters were in some way spectators of their own vanishing culture.
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