Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874)
We motored down to Indianapolis last weekend to get our first look at the Eiteljorg Museum. (it was built 20 years ago -- but it took me a while to find it)
I haven't been a big fan of this genre. It seems to exemplify the fantasies of either the Walter Mitty's or the great tycoons of our world.
But it's never too late to change your mind!
So here's a few of my favorites from the Eiteljorg collection - beginning with the above sweet, dreamy fantasy of the noble savage. It's hard to believe that Miller actually traveled out to the Rocky Mountains in the early 19th century, and met some actual Indians.
Henry Farny (1847 - 1916)
Now this feels like real Indian - or at least how a pale-face would feel when he met one in the wilderness -- i.e. a bit uneasy.
Since Farny lived in Cincinnati, I grew up seeing this scary piece in the local museum.
Robert Henri (1865-1929)
I'm something of a fan of this painter who wrote "The Art Spirit" - but Americans do not need any more opportunities to feel sentimental.
Marsden Hartley (1877-1943)
Apparently Hartley went to New Mexico in 1918 as "an American discovering America", but came back a year later in flight from the "society of cheap artists"
(perhaps he wasn't invited over for dinner?)
You can feel his discomfort in the above painting, done after he returned.
(perhaps he was staying too close to Roswell)
Georgia O'Keefe (1887-1986)
So many of her paintings, like this one, seem to be an opportunity to ponder the intricacies of the female genitalia. Which is fine with me. This was a beautiful painting, one of my favorites in the museum.
Here's her take on the local architecture.
Victor Higgins (1884-1949)
And here's a version done by a Chicago painter who quit my art club in 1915 to move out to Taos and make scenic pictures for the folks back home.
It feels a bit more like a travel poster for the railroads.
Abiquiu Country, 1940
This scene really feels dry and hot - presumably it was done plein air.
Palo Duro, 1923
Corn and Mountain, 1916
Here's another Chicago painter who went to Taos.
Rather than creating a pleasing fantasy, he seems more intent on making a painting in response to how this world appeared to him.
Corn Picker, 1915
Going to the Water Hole, Santa Clara
E. Martin Hennings
Indians in the Sage
And here is yet another Chicagoan
E. Martin Hennings
Randall Davey (1887-1964)
Davey was a protege of Robert Henri, but he certainly developed his own, bodacious vision of contemporary life.
William Acheff is one of the leading contemporary artists in this genre -- and I can see why.