LOT 296

Bert G. Phillips


The War Captain Rides

MEDIUM: Oil on board

DIMENSIONS: 20 x 24 inches

ESTIMATE: $35,000.00 - $50,000.00

Signed lower left

Signed and titled verso


Additional Information

Private collection Scottsdale, Arizona

Bert Greer Phillips and the Taos Art Colony, by Julie Schimmel & Robert R. White, Published by the University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM, 1994; mentioned on p. 270

The War Captain Rides, which is occasionally lengthened to The War Captain Rides on a Moonlight Night in October, was originally sold for $500 after it was created in 1954-55, toward the end of the artist’s life. The image is listed in the comprehensive catalog of known works in Bert Geer Phillips and the Taos Art Colony. The 1994 book also lists three unnamed exhibitions where the work was shown in Roy, Deming and Gallup, New Mexico.

Phillips rode into Western art history when he and Ernest L. Blumenschein, tenderfeet from the big city, purchased a wagon and a pair of horses in Denver in 1898. They were so inexperienced they had to carefully watch the man who sold them the horses hitch the team to the wagon so they could duplicate the process on their own. Four months later, the pair of artists rode into Northern New Mexico, where the wagon fell into a rut and broke a wheel. Phillips stayed with the wagon and Blumenschein rode into nearby Taos, where the wheel could be mended. Although Joseph Henry Sharp had visited Taos in 1893, the “wagon incident” would essentially mark the beginning of the Taos Art Colony. Phillips, it should be noted, was smitten immediately by Taos, and was the only artist to move there permanently from the moment he laid eyes on it. He was also instrumental in bringing some of the artists out and in organizing the Taos Society of Artists.


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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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