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William R. Leigh (1866 – 1955)
The Narrowing Circle (1916)
oil on canvas laid on board
26 × 36 inches
36 × 46 × 2 inches (framed)
signed lower right

Leigh biographer June DuBois wrote, “Well-meaning friends and family had asked, hadn’t Moran and Bierstadt and Remington and Russell already said everything about the Wild West? Perhaps after all, those who had refused to back Leigh were right in their contention that interest in the Old West vanished with the passing of the open range.

“The West of today, he was told, belonged to the new, twentieth century person with his trappings of civilization: railroads, barbed wire, oil wells, big business. Now only a memory fading into the mists of time, the days of the cowboy and cattle drives had long since given way to the efficiency of feed lots and cattle cars at local sidings.

“Didn’t Leigh recognize the truth when he heard it? For ten years he had listened to this kind of talk. Yes, he recognized the truth. But no doubt like Henry Adams he would have said, ‘My country in 1900 is something different from my own country in 1860. I am wholly a stranger in it. Neither I, nor anyone else, understands it.’

“To the industrial world, Leigh realized he would always remain a stranger. His roots were too deep in the ideals of the recent past and in the primitive beauty of a childhood spent close to nature. He could never understand a set of values based on coal and iron and steam. He refused to recognize them.

“He would paint that frontier which simplified, indeed dramatized, the values he cherished.”

PROVENANCE
O’Brien Galleries, Scottsdale, Arizona
Walter Reed Bimson, Phoenix, Arizona, 1954
Valley National Bank of Arizona Collection
Walter Bimson, Phoenix, Arizona, 1966
Christie’s, New York, New York, 2016
Private collection, Wyoming

EXHIBITED
Summer Show of American Paintings, Snedecor Gallery, New York, New York, 1916
Winter Exhibition, National Academy of Design, New York, New York, 1916-17
William R. Leigh, Snedecor Gallery, New York, New York, 1917
Paintings of the West, E. C. Babcock Art Galleries, New York, New York, 1920
Art Collected by Banks in Arizona, Tucson Art Center, Tucson, Arizona, 1966
The West and Walter Bimson: Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture Collected by Mr. Walter Reed Bimson, University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona, 1971
Arizona Collects the West, Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona, 1983

LITERATURE
“Snedecor’s Summer Show.” American Art News, vol. XIV, no. 36, 1916, p. 3
Winter Exhibition, National Academy of Design, 1916, p. 20, no. 123
“The National Academy of Design: Winter Exhibition – 1916-1917.” The Art World, vol. 1, no. 5, 1917, p. 306
"Western Scenes by W. R. Leigh at Snedecor’s.” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 1917, p. 33
Paintings of the West, E. C. Babcock Art Galleries, 1920, n.p., illustrated
“Paintings of the West.” El Palacio, vol. VIII, no. 1, 1920, p. 184
The West and Walter Bimson: Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture Collected by Mr. Walter Reed Bimson, University of Arizona Museum of Art, 1971, p. 109, illustrated
June DuBois, W. R. Leigh: The Definitive Illustrated Biography, Lowell Press, 1977, p. 85, illustrated

William R. Leigh

1866 – 1955

The Narrowing Circle (1916)
oil on canvas laid on board
26 × 36 inches
36 × 46 × 2 inches (framed)
signed lower right
$500,000 – 750,000
Condition ReportSurface is in excellent condition. The canvas has been mounted to Masonite. Small spots of inpainting lower-left/right corners, along the edges of frame.

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.