John Mix Stanley (1814 - 1872)
oil on canvas
18 x 12 inches
23.75 x 17.75 inches (frame)
Signed Lower Right: J M Stanley
Private Collection, Dallas, Texas
An extensive traveler throughout the vast Western frontier in the first half of the nineteenth century, John Mix Stanley ranks among the earliest and most celebrated chroniclers of the American West through his powerful images of Native American culture, and today, most of his paintings and drawings reside in institutional collections. In 1853, he made his last trip West as the official artist for the Stevens Pacific Railroad Survey, which traveled from Saint Paul to the Puget Sound. Upon his return, Stanley settled as a studio artist and attempted to establish an “Indian Gallery” of his art in the manner of George Catlin, receiving positive praise for his work by contemporary Seth Eastman. Unfortunately, the majority of the gallery was lost to a fire at the Smithsonian Institute in 1865, making the present work a supremely rare surviving example of Stanley’s important oil paintings.
The painting has been restored and is in good condition. There is fine craquelure throughout likely addressed in the previous restoration. The canvas is stretched to a wood tendon and mortise stretcher and both are in good condition. Under UV examination, the surface shows residual varnish layers and small fine lines of inpainting in the sky as well as small areas in both the lower left and right quadrants. There are no signs of significant damage and the inpainting overall is refined and minimal. Although the painting was treated previously, the process was beneficial, and the painting is in good condition.