Howard Terpning (b. 1927)
Telling of Legends (1989)
oil on canvas
32 × 52 inches
signed and dated lower right
Sold at Auction: $1,705,000
Condition ReportOriginal canvas, surface condition excellent, no restoration.
Important Notice: Statements of condition are provided as a service to potential bidders; such statements are educated opinions and should not be regarded as facts. The Coeur d'Alene Art Auction has no responsibility for any errors or omissions.
Signed and titled in the artist’s hand
Label, Cowboy Artists of America Silver Anniversary Exhibition
Label, Cowboy Artists of America Exhibition
Telling of Legends was reproduced as a limited edition print by The Greenwich Workshop in June 1990.
Native historian John Stands in Timber wrote, “The old Cheyennes could not write things down. They had to keep everything in their heads and tell it to their children so the history of the tribe would not be forgotten…”
About Telling of Legends Elmer Kelton wrote, ”Because they had no written language, it was vital to the Indians’ preservation of their rituals and legends that these be handed down orally from one generation to the next. In this painting a Blackfeet elder, medicine pipe in his hand, sits atop the sacred Chief Mountain in Montana, relating to a younger man the legends which he wants to be certain will be preserved and retold for the benefit of those who come after.
“The artist saw this scene in early morning, when the rising sun was in bright contrast to the dark blue shadows marking the distant mountains and deep canyons. ‘I am always attracted by that kind of light,’ he [Terpning] says. ‘The mood was so beautiful.’”
Private Collection, Aspen, Colorado, 1989, gifted to
Avenues to Independence Foundation, Park Ridge, Illinois
The Great American West, Settlers West Galleries, Tucson, Arizona, November 1989
Cowboy Artists of America Silver Anniversary Exhibition, April 21 - September 2, 1990
Seeing What the Heart Knows: The Art of Howard Terpning, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis, Indiana, April 21 - May 20, 2001
Southwest Art (Houston, Texas: CBH Publishing, November 1989), page 3, illustrated
Catalog, The Great American West (Tucson, Arizona: Settlers West Galleries, November 1989), page 5, illustrated
Elmer Kelton, The Art of Howard Terpning (Trumbull, Connecticut: The Greenwich Workshop, Inc., 1992), pages 22-3
Don Hedgpeth, Spirit of the Plains People, Howard Terpning (Shelton, Connecticut: The Greenwich Workshop, Inc., 2001), pages 176-7, illustrated