Oscar E. Berninghaus | The Forty-Niners | Before 1942 | Oil on canvas | 26 1/4 inches x 36 1/4 inches

Oscar Edmund Berninghaus was an established commercial artist when he visited New Mexico in 1899 and became "infected with the Taos germ." Berninghaus painted many Indian subjects, giving them the full Taos treatment, but also created works in which horses and humans were reduced to inconspicuous elements in the spectacular mountainous landscape that lured painters to northern New Mexico. He did paint Western historical pictures and a series of oils on the theme of early western transportation. The Forty-niners, in subject matter and style, forms part of this familiar body of his work. The conjunction of stagecoach, covered wagons, and prospectors west of the Sierra Nevada range gave it an allegorical quality. It is an unapologetic tribute to the Anglo pioneering and a celebration of civilization's advance westward.


In addition to 23 paintings by Remington and 52 paintings by Russell, the Sid Richardson Museum's collection also includes works by other artists from the era who captured the romance and ruggedness of the western United States in the late 1800s, a time when most Americans had little firsthand knowledge of the frontier. [more]


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