(Shown Above) Joseph Sharp (1859-1953) – Interior of a Buffalo Hunter’s Teepee – 20″ x 24″ Oil – Estimate: $100,000 – 150,000
Six exceptional examples of the work of Taos Society master Joseph Henry Sharp (1859-1953) will be on offer at the 2020 Scottsdale Art Auction. An Ohio native, the outdoors, art, and Native Americans distracted Sharp from formal education at an early age. After studying in Cincinnati, Munich, and Paris, he set out to make a career painting Native Americans in the West. Having been the first of the Taos Society to visit New Mexico (in 1893), Sharp made Taos his permanent residence in 1912 but ventured out throughout his life, searching the world for new people and places to paint.
Strikes His Enemy Pretty calls to mind Sharp’s years at the Crow Agency in Montana. In 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt, who had seen and admired Sharp’s work, invited the artist to live and paint on the reservation, and built a studio for the him not far from the site of the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Sharp painted hundreds of portraits of Native American survivors of Custer’s fateful engagement and their descendants, including several of Strikes His Enemy Pretty.
In paintings such as February Chinook, Crow Reservation and October Morning-Crow Teepees, Montana, Sharp observes and records daily life in these encampments, just a stone’s throw from the site of Custer’s last, fateful, battle.
By contrast, Interior of a Buffalo Hunter’s Teepee is a spiritual, internal work, where the painted elk skin, one of the artist’s prized possessions-given to him by Chief Flat Iron, a famous Oglala Sioux leader who was raised with Sitting Bull-serves as an external symbol of the thoughts of the sitter, images of contemplation perhaps, or paths to a vision or to memory, after a song of prayer accompanied by the drum at right.
February Chinook, Crow Reservation
20″ x 30″ Oil
Strikes His Enemy Pretty
18″ x 12″ Oil
October Morning – Crow Teepees, Montan
20″ x 24″ Oil
10″ x 14″ Oil
Stalking Game Big Horn Montana
16″ x 12″ Oil