2023 Coeur d’Alene Art Auction – Online Auction / Lot 2917 / 66  •  View Catalog  •   • 

29
William Herbert Dunton (1878 – 1936)
J-D Outfit (ca. 1906)
oil on canvas
30 × 20 inches
40 × 30 inches (framed)
signed lower right

VERSO
Label, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Texas

According to art historian Michael R. Grauer, “While Dunton made a number of trips west between 1896 and 1911, the specific details of his travels remain ambiguous. He did recall in a 1914 New York Sun article that he had ‘been on three cow outfits in [Park and Musselshell counties, Montana], and on one in Oregon … also worked in the cattle country of Wyoming, on two outfits in Colorado, in Mexico, and spent two years in the greatest cattle country of New Mexico.’ He thought he ‘wanted to be a cow boy [sic] … But … [l]ong hours, hard work, sorry grub and sorry pay, and – no future’ cured him. Plus, he always said he made a sorry ‘puncher’ as he couldn’t ‘rope a sick chicken with its legs hobbled.’ Dunton trips to the West were confined to summers while he worked and studied in the East during the rest of the year.

“Typically, Dunton sketched in watercolor and completed his canvases in the East. J-D Outfit could have been completed following this process and painted at his studio in his barn at his Ridgewood, New Jersey, studio where he moved about 1905. Or it could have been painted in Montana in 1906. This painting also presages Dunton’s series of paintings he created in Taos between about 1912 and 1918 depicting lone cowboys, vaqueros, or American Indians posed on a hill and silhouetted against the sky.

“In this case, the cowboy rests on what could be a Visalia, California, slick fork saddle with square skirts (normally favored in Texas). A quirt dangles from his right wrist while he wears a Montana-peak hat, leather wrist cuffs, and woolly chaps, all typical of a northern plains cowboy seen often in the paintings of Dunton’s friend Charles M. Russell. His three-button wool shirt and red ‘wild rag’ are also typical of the cow-country period depicted. While J-D Outfit may have been reproduced, I have never felt that it was painted for illustration. I believe it may be one of Dunton’s earliest Western easel paintings.”

PROVENANCE
Private collection, Washington
Present owner, by descent

EXHIBITED
W. Herbert Dunton: A Retrospective, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Texas, 1991

LITERATURE
Julie Schimmel, The Art and Life of W. Herbert Dunton, 1878-1936, University of Texas Press, 1984, pp. 24, 205
Michael Grauer, W. Herbert Dunton: A Retrospective, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, 1991, pp. 13, 38, illustrated

29

William Herbert Dunton

1878 – 1936

J-D Outfit (ca. 1906)
oil on canvas
30 × 20 inches
40 × 30 inches (framed)
signed lower right
Sold at Auction: $102,850
Condition ReportSurface is in excellent condition. Canvas has been lined. Scattered spots of inpainting. Mostly in sky, upper left and center.

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.