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An original documentation sheet and letter from Virginia Couse Leavitt detailing the history of this painting will accompany the lot.

Describing this painting Virginia Couse Leavitt writes, “One of Couse’s favorite models, Jerry Mirabal, whose Indian name was Tuena (Elkfoot), posed for this iconic portrait. Jerry was an ideal model whose ‘grave, stoical mien, and his air of distinction and reserve’ epitomized the characteristics that Couse admired in Native Americans. At a time when Native Americans were under pressure from the US Government to assimilate, Couse was a staunch advocate for preserving their culture. Couse must have liked his painting Tu-e-Na, as it had an extensive early exhibition history starting with the Fall exhibition at the National Academy of Design in 1911 and lasting into the 1920s. The above quote from the Boston Transcript, November 26, 1913, appeared in a review of his solo exhibition at the Vose Gallery in Boston. This painting seems to have been universally admired and other critics also singled it out for special mention; the critic from the Boston Daily Globe calling it ‘well modeled and finely painted.’ The solo exhibition traveled in December to the Detroit Publishing Co. and on to the Gage Gallery in Cleveland, Ohio, in early 1914. In Detroit, Clyde Burroughs, editor of the Detroit Museum’s Bulletin, wrote that ‘The Chief stands out foremost among those [paintings] shown.’

“Jerry started posing for Couse in 1908. He was handsome and aristocratic looking, with the ease and grace of a natural model. He appears in a great many of Couse’s paintings, the most famous of which is his more than life- size portrait, Elkfoot of the Taos Tribe, now in the collection of the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum.”

The Artist
Irving W. Couse (grandson), by descent
Mr. and Mrs. Caleb Calkins, Flint, MI 1984
R.B. Ravens, Ranchos de Taos, NM 1995
Mr. & Mrs. Mick Jepsen, Santa Fe, NM 1995

Winter Exhibition, National Academy of Design, New York, NY, Dec 9, 1911-Jan 7, 1912, #357
The Latest Works of E. Irving Couse, Vose Galleries, Boston, MA, Nov 22-Dec 6, 1913
E. Irving Couse, N.A., A View of His Paintings of Indian Life Among the Pueblo Indians of Taos, New Mexico, Detroit Publishing Co., Detroit, MI, Dec 16-27, 1913, #3 (as The Chief)
Cage Gallery, Cleveland, OH , Jan 19-Feb 2, 1914
Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, April 15-24, 1916
City Club, New York, NY, Jan 9, 1917 for three weeks
Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, Nov 28, 1919 for one month
Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA, Jan 8-Feb 23, 1922
Noonan Kocian Gallery, St. Louis, MO, Dec 11, 1923

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