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According to Larry Len Peterson, a Goodwin and Russell historian, “The predicament painting in which hunters are surprised by big game was a subject Philip R. Goodwin revisited many times during his long career. A Break at Dawn, one of his masterworks, demonstrates America’s sporting and wildlife artist at the top of his game.

“Philip Russell Goodwin was born on September 16, 1881 in Norwich, Connecticut. Early on he was recognized as a child prodigy attending the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design when he was only fourteen. He soon caught the eye of America’s most famous illustrator, Howard Pyle (1853-1911), who taught such greats as Maxfield Parrish, N.C. Wyeth, Harvey Dunn, Frank Schoonover, W.H.D. Koerner, and Frank Stick. Pyle started the Brandywine School in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania where most of the great illustrators would train over the years. Goodwin was training there as a teenager ahead of N. C. Wyeth.

“Set in the high country around Charles M. Russell’s Bull Head Lodge in Glacier National Park, the painting exemplifies the thrill of hunting with a friend on a cool Montana morning with lake mist floating gently into a vibrant, yellow sky. By the time the young New Yorker accepted his first invitation to visit the Russells in 1907, Goodwin had illustrated a dozen books including: The Call of the Wild by Jack London in 1903; dozens of magazine articles; three covers for the great magazine of the day, The Saturday Evening Post; and sporting posters for The Marlin Firearms Co., The Peters Cartridge Co, and Winchester. Amazingly, he was only twenty-five years old. Before his return to Bull Head Lodge in 1910, Goodwin had illustrated African Game Trails (1909) by one of the most famous men in the world, Teddy Roosevelt, who called on the best wildlife artist in America who could capture arrested motion.

“To say that the Russells were in awe of Goodwin would be an understatement. Russell, the student, learned well from his friend. From 1907 to 1910 Russell produced many of his finest paintings. Late in life, Russell would also paint yellow skies in a final tribute to his good friend Goodwin and to the wonderful times they shared in the ‘Alps of North America.’”

Brown & Bigelow, St. Paul, Minnesota
American Wildlife Art Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Private Collection, Wyoming, 1964

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