APRIL 2024 AUCTION,

LOT 293

Winold Reiss

1886-1953

Blackfoot Maiden

MEDIUM: Mixed Media on paper

DIMENSIONS: 29 1/2 x 21 1/4 inches

ESTIMATE: $25,000.00 - $35,000.00

Signed lower left

SHIPPING DIMENSIONS: 39 x 31 inches

Additional Information

Provenance:
Midwestern Gallery, Cincinatti, OH
Private collection, New York ca. 1980

Beginning in 1919 and continuing until 1948, German painter Winold Reiss made routine trips to the Blackfeet in Montana and the Bloods in Alberta, Canada. He had made the long journey from Europe to the United States specifically to see Native Americans, whose romantic depictions in James Fenimore Cooper novels had thrilled him while he was studying art in Munich. When he arrived in New York City in 1913, he was surprised to learn that American Indians weren’t greeting visitors at the pier. Broke and hungry for opportunities, Reiss stuck around New York City until he had the funds to tour the West. He used the pause in his adventure to his advantage: by the time 1919 rolled around, Reiss had established himself as a portrait artist, muralist, art teacher and interior designer. Not only was he in a better place in his career, but he was also a better artist. The work he made in Montana was groundbreaking and modern.

“Western artists created mementos of a vanishing frontier. Their work was to encapsulate the exceptionalism of the Western experience, an often-romanticized view that was increasingly difficult to find. According to historian Frederic Jackson Turner, the West was settled by Euro-Americans including many newcomers. We can imagine Winold Reiss as an immigrant for whom the frontier myths and the Native Americans were a resource to shed his European identity and become an American,” writes Jochen Wierich in The Multicultural Modernism of Winold Reiss, 1886-1953. “However, his images of Native Americans did not reiterate the tragic hero narrative that pervaded so much of Western art. Reiss almost returns to the ethnographic beginnings of the genre but with a modernist eye for color and design. Unlike [George] Catlin, who defined his own role as a historian, Reiss was more comfortable with the artifice of his craft.”

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Please note that the first unframed photo is most accurate for color. Framed photographs are to show the frame and are not color corrected to the painting.

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