Henry Farny (1847-1916)
Camp in the Foothills (1895)
gouache on paper
10 × 16 inches
signed and dated lower right
Sold at Auction: $280,800
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According to Denny Carter, author of Henry Farny, “The West to which Farny traveled in 1881 was already becoming a nostalgic subject for Americans. The frontier officially ceased to exist in 1890; a transcontinental railroad had been completed in 1869 and most of the Indians had been confined to their reservations during the 1870s. While a few indians, such as Sitting Bull and Geronimo, continued to fight white settlers with small bands of warriors, the majority of the Indians lived peacefully and dispiritedly on their reservations. The buffalo had already passed into legend by the time of Farny’s visit....
“Although he repeatedly used his studio artifacts in several paintings, Farny’s depiction of the Indian was historically quite accurate. Many of the Indian objects in his painting can be identified by tribe. Farny sometimes dressed his models in a style of the 1860s or 1870s, and the artist often portrayed his Indians in a mixture of Indian-made clothing, trade goods, and white man’s gear, as would have been accurate for his period. Generally, his Indians carry rifles, and the new repeating rifles at that, rather than the more romantic bow and arrow of legend, and they usually ride in the white man’s bridle and saddle and are rarely seen bareback using a thong.”