2024 Coeur d’Alene Art Auction / Lot 199198 / 404  •  View Catalog  •   • 

199
John Clymer (1907 – 1989)
Prairie Raiders
oil on board
20 × 36 inches
30 × 46 × 2 inches (framed)
signed lower right

VERSO
Titled

In discussing this painting the artist wrote, “The introduction of the horse to the Indian culture revolutionized the Indian way of life. The horse became integrated with their daily living. Acquiring many horses became synonymous with wealth and social prestige.

“In the old days before they had horses the Indian had only dogs to carry his burdens and could not carry as much or move about as readily. With the acquisition of the horse the travois the family used on the dog was made larger and adapted to the new animal, which could carry heavier loads. The Indian who owned many horses could live in a larger tipi, acquire more wives, kill more game and buffalo and transport them more easily thus being assured of a more bountiful food supply. He could also buy more ceremonial privileges, acquire more social standing by giving away more property and acquire more leisure to devote to horse raiding and warfare.

“With wealth and social status being measured by the number of horses one owned horse stealing became a recognized and rewarding art. Raiding parties were organized for personal gain and afforded much sense of adventure and excitement.

“Spring and summer were the favored seasons for horse raiding. Most horse stealing parties were small and comprised of less than a dozen men. The smaller the party the less danger of discovery. The small party would start off on foot, equipped with extra moccasins for the journey, a rawhide rope for catching, riding or leading horses, some food, bow and arrows, knife or flint lock.

“When the party neared enemy territory they did no hunting, traveled at night and hid during the day. The party sent out scouts who searched for the enemy camp, moving with utmost caution. When the camp was located the scouts, carefully hidden, would watch the camp intently noting its size, the number of people and the location of the horses, noticing especially where the favorite and most valued horses were kept picketed to the owner’s lodge. At the time of the raid they approached these best horses first, cutting their picket lines and leading them away. While the leader and the most able men were after the picketed animals other members of the party were free to drive off the rest of the herd.

“It was very important to make a quick get away in order to get as much of a lead as possible. Most of the route to be followed had been determined in advance on the way to the camp. On the first lap of the journey home they set a swift pace and for two or three days rode day and night changing mounts as the horses tired.

“Once they had left their enemies a safe distance behind they could ride the rest of the way home in a more leisurely manner and make a victorious entry into their home camp.

Prairie Raiders shows a party of horse thieves of the Northern Plains who have just made a successful raid of an enemy horse herd making a rapid night time get away.”

PROVENANCE
Red McCombs Collection, San Antonio, Texas

199

John Clymer

1907 – 1989

Prairie Raiders
oil on board
20 × 36 inches
30 × 46 × 2 inches (framed)
signed lower right
$100,000 – 150,000
Condition ReportSurface is in excellent condition. No signs of 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.