OTHER IMPORTANT ARTISTS IN THE COLLECTION
While the works of Frederic Remington and Charles Russell comprise the bulk of the Sid Richardson Museum's collection, they are not the only important artists whose works were collected by Sid W. Richardson. The following artists' work is also included in the collection.
Oscar E. Berninghaus (1874-1952)
Born in St. Louis in 1874, Oscar Berninghaus began work in lithography in 1889 and was a printer's apprentice in 1893 while studying at the St. Louis Society of Fine Arts. Berninghaus was an established commercial artist when he visited New Mexico in 1899 and became "infected with the Taos germ." He is the only member of the famous Taos artists' colony represented in the Museum's collection. 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 also painted Western historical pictures, five murals for the Missouri State Capitol at Jefferson City and a series of oils for the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company of St. Louis on the theme of early western transportation.
Charles Francis Browne (1859-1920)
A native of Natick, Massachusetts, Charles Francis Browne studied at the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, and later in Paris. In the summer of 1895 Browne and two friends from Chicago embarked on an adventure in the West, a tour of the Indian country of Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. Although Browne was attracted "by the strangeness, picturesqueness and real interest" of the Indians he was the least influenced of the three by what he had seen. Landscape was his teaching specialty at the Chicago Art Institute, and it was his work in that field that earned him election as an associate in the National Academy of Design in 1913. Nevertheless, Browne did paint Indians in 1895.
Edwin Willard Deming (1860-1942)
Edwin Deming enjoyed a long, productive career as an artist and illustrator. Born in Ashland, Ohio, and raised on a homestead in Illinois, he studied art in New York and Paris. Deming traveled extensively among the Western tribes in the late 1880's and through the 1890's. His first trip to the West was in 1887 when he visited the Apaches and the Pueblo Indians in the Southwest and the Umatillas in Oregon. He was best known as a muralist and received a letter from Frederic Remington in 1909 stating his intention to have Deming do "a panel or two" for the dining room of Remington's new house in Connecticut. However, during the same period his smaller canvases were also winning recognition for their evocation of the spiritual side of Indian life. He saw himself as the interpreter of the Indian's soul and was given to quoting Remington, "Deming, the difference between your Indians and mine is that I saw my Indians through the sights of a rifle and you saw yours from inside the blanket in his tipi."
William Gilbert Gaul (1855-1919)
Born in Jersey City, New Jersey on March 31, 1855, William Gilbert Gaul was best known for his military scenes, drawing inspiration from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, and even World War I. Although he originally intended to pursue a career in the military, ill health prevented Gaul from entering the Navy.
With an interest and skill for art, Gaul moved to New York City at the young age of 17, where he enrolled in the National Academy of Design. His studies there emphasized realism and genre painting. His training at the academy and his instructors’ influence remained with him throughout his career as evidenced in his art. Later, Gaul joined the Art Students League of New York after its founding in 1875.
The year 1876 marks the artist’s first journey to the West. Unfortunately, no known sketches or written records have survived. However, in an 1898 interview, Gaul recounts an incident he encountered with an Indian Chief, Yellow Wolf, whom he had met in a Sioux Camp three weeks before the Battle of Little Big Horn.
Upon his return to New York, Gaul began painting military and Western scenes, for which he received much public acclaim. The artist painted sympathetically towards his subjects. Rather than focus on violence and carnage, his Civil War series revealed the artist’s concern with universal suffering, showing soldiers as human beings with heart who engaged with each other off the battlefield.
In 1877, Gaul was one of the younger men to gain entry into the spring exhibit of the National Academy of Design. At the age of 27, he became the youngest artist awarded full membership to the National Academy as Academician (N.A.), a status of high honor and prestige. Through his many accolades, including medals at both the Paris Exposition (1889) and Chicago and Columbian Exposition (1893), Gaul fashioned a reputation as a leading figure painter in the U.S., and preeminent in the field of military painters.
After the death of his uncle, the artist inherited a small farm in Tennessee, the birthplace of his mother. In order to possess the property, the will stipulated that Gilbert had to live on the land for at least four years, forcing the artist to leave his home in New York in 1881, where he had become well-established in the city’s art circles. Throughout his career, the artist continued to visit Tennessee, maintaining a cabin and studio on the farm, where he painted some of his greatest pictures of the local landscape and people.
Like another artist represented in the Sid Richardson Collection - Peter Moran - Gaul served as a special agent for the 1890 census of Indians in the United States, observing the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Reservations in North Dakota. During his visit, Gaul painted from life a portrait of Sitting Bull, completed just months before the chieftain’s death. After the trip, Gaul traveled to South America, documenting scenes and events he encountered in Mexico, West Indies, Panama, and Nicaragua.
For at least a decade or more, magazines looked to Gaul to use his work both to illustrate articles and serve as frontispieces, with many depicting military subjects, but included genre and western scenes, as well. Unfortunately, over time, collectors became increasingly attracted to the other artists and movements. After a period of much success, by 1904, the artist began to struggle financially from which he would never recover, forcing him to give up his New York studio. Working from a studio in Nashville, Gaul continued to illustrate novels, though profits were limited. Likewise, his paintings were not selling well, and most of his late works remained unsold by his death from tuberculosis on December 23, 1919.
Peter Hurd (1903-1984)
Peter Hurd, a native of New Mexico, ventured from his home state in 1921 to attend West Point but resigned to study art instead. In 1924 he became a pupil of the renowned illustrator N.C. Wyeth at Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and five years later a member of the Wyeth family circle when he married his mentor's daughter Henriette. The Hurds, both artists, lived on at Chadds Ford until 1939, then settled in New Mexico, where Peter Hurd earned distinction as one of the outstanding painters of the Southwest. Though his watercolors and etchings are much admired, his reputation rests on his work in egg tempera, an exacting medium perfectly suited to his tight, precise brushstroking since it allows his heavily reworked surface to retain an airy glow. While best known for his spare, evocative studies of the light, the landscape, the people, and the quiet charm of his native state, Hurd was also an accomplished portraitist.
Frank Tenney Johnson (1874-1939)
Born June 26, 1874 on a small southwestern Iowa farm, Frank Tenney Johnson grew up with dreams of the distant West. Struggling to keep the farm running after the death of his mother, Frank and his family sold their homestead and left for Milwaukee in December 1888. Living in the city was a radical change for the young prairie boy who was exposed to a whole new world after a school visit to the Layton Art Gallery. Inspired to learn how to draw and paint, Frank dedicated the rest of his time to becoming an artist, even going so far as to drop out of high school during his second year. He paid for art classes with professional water colorist F. W. Heine, who kept Frank on as an apprentice for a short while. Frank started taking lessons with Milwaukee artist and former Texas Ranger, Richard Lorenz, whose paintings of Western life appealed to the young student’s senses. For income, Frank held various free-lance jobs with Milwaukee engraving and commercial companies, as well as the city newspapers, all of which afforded him the time to take several trips down to South Dakota where he studied and sketched the native tribes he encountered.
Eager for more instruction, in 1895, Frank traveled to New York. During his five months there, he attended classes at the Art Students League under the instruction of the distinguished American landscape painter John Henry Twachtman. At the encouragement of his new wife, Vinnie Reeve Francis, the new couple settled in NYC in 1902. While Vinnie found a job as a secretary, Frank found free-lance work and joined the classes of Robert Henri and William Merrit Chase, both highly-regarded painters, at the New York School of Art. After becoming friends with Emerson Hough, the editor of Field & Stream, Frank made a five month trip West, at the magazine’s expense in exchange for illustrations. The artist spent time with a cattle outfit in Colorado and then traveled down to New Mexico to immerse himself in the world of Navajos, painting, photographing, and sketching all the while. From 1904 onward, Frank was travelling repeatedly to the Southwest and the Rocky Mountains, with his wife Vinnie eventually accompanying him on these journeys.
While working in New York City, from 1903-1925, the artist supported his art through several relationships with New York publications, illustrating for popular periodicals such as Field & Stream, Cosmopolitan, Century, Harper’s Monthly, Harper’s Weekly, Metropolitan Magazine, and Scribner’s. Frank also illustrated books by Western writers: Zane Grey, George Bird Grinnell, B. M. Bower, A. M. Chisholm, and Edgar Beecher Bronson. By 1925, the artist abandoned his illustrative work in order to focus on his career as a fine artist and became tenacious in his efforts to exhibit his work.
That same year, with the growing interest in European art among the New York art dealers and his fascination with the West, Frank bought a home in Alhambra, California while maintaining a residence in New York. Already established among East Coast circles, the artist involved himself in the Los Angeles burgeoning art culture, joining several art associations. Frank’s career continued to blossom and gained prestige with the designated honor of Academician in 1937 at the National Academy of Design.Founding the Painters of the West, a California group of artists, Frank was tireless in his commitment to promote Western art and representative painters. Whether romanticized or nostalgic in his vision, the artist remained true to realism. His paintings are distinguished by superb draftsmanship, painterly brushwork, and a fascination with outdoor light. Although he often generalizes the details of his landscapes with broad brush strokes, Frank provides a realistic impression of each scene. Much of his work reflects his interest in twilight and night light. Like Remington, Frank Tenney Johnson earned much of his reputation as a fine artist from his nocturnes, painting night scenes throughout his thirty-five year career, which ended on January 1, 1939, from spinal meningitis.
William Robinson Leigh (1866-1955)
Of the painters who gained fame as delineators of the American West around the turn of the century, William Robinson Leigh is routinely cited as the most thoroughly trained. A native of West Virginia, Leigh was the son of impoverished Southern aristocrats. He spent fifteen years studying drawing, painting, and composition in Baltimore and Munich and apprenticing as a mural painter before establishing himself as an artist and illustrator in New York City in 1896. A decade later, fulfilling a boyhood dream, he went west and fell in love with the desert country. While he would venture into other areas from time to time, he was primarily a Western artist.
Peter Moran (1841-1914)
Born in England on March 4, 1841, Peter Moran and his family sought a better economic life in America, settling in Philadelphia in 1844. After graduating from the Harrison Grammar School in 1857, Peter entered into an apprenticeship with a local lithographic firm. He also tried his hand at glass painting in 1860-61, though no prints in this medium from the artist have been identified.
Lacking formal training, Peter studied under his brothers for the next several years, supporting himself through the sale of his paintings. The family boasted membership to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, with both Thomas and Edward as full Academicians. While never receiving status of full Academician, Peter was elected into the group as an Associate in 1863. In addition to the influence of his brothers, Peter studied the work of three French artists, which directed his interest towards animals and their natural landscapes: Constant Troyon (1810-1865), Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899), and Emile van Marcke (1827-1890).
In 1874, the artist took up etching, a field that garnered little attention in the nation at that time. It is likely Peter gained an interest in the medium after exposure to a major print exhibition sponsored by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts that same year, which featured the largest public display of metal-plate prints up to that point in American history. Likewise, seriously committed to etching by 1878, the artist may have been influenced by his wife, Emily, a practicing etcher, and his studio partner, Stephen James Ferris, who may have provided Peter with some technical guidance.
The American 1876 centennial proved momentous for Peter Moran’s artistic recognition. The artist submitted a group of etchings to Philadelphia’s Centennial Exhibition, where he won a medal commending the artist for his “excellence in design and execution.” Additionally, Moran received an award for one of his oil paintings on display. Peter Moran soon became a recognized name, appearing in both New York and Boston press, with articles highlighting the artist’s reputation for skillful depiction of animals. His works were exhibited throughout the nation, not only in major East Coast cities like his first significant show of etchings at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1877, but in Newark, Pittsburgh, Utica, Louisville, and Chicago.
The summers during 1879-81, in between teaching courses at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, Peter traveled west on sketching trips. He accompanied his brother Thomas on his first summer trip in 1879. Sponsored by the Union Pacific Railroad, the pair visited northeast California and the territories of Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. Although they sometimes encountered Native Americans, it wasn’t until Peter’s later travels west that the artist made sketches of the tribes and villages he experienced, dedicating much of his work to scenes and people of the Zuni Pueblo of New Mexico. Later, in 1890, Peter Moran served as a Special Agent for the Eleventh Census of the United States, documenting the conditions of the Shoshone Indians on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming.
Throughout his career, Peter Moran worked to elevate and establish an appreciation for the fine art of etching. In 1880, he helped found the Philadelphia Society of Etchers, through which many exhibitions were organized and sponsored. Through the support of New York print publisher and dealer Frederick Keppel, Moran had a one-man show in 1887. Comprised of 104 of his etched prints, the show established his reputation as one of the leading American painter-etchers of farm life and grazing cattle, during a time when images of cows resonated with an American audience who recognized that the traditional way of life these domestic cattle signified was rapidly vanishing. By the time of his death on November 9, 1914, after an extended illness, Peter Moran was a well-loved figure in Philadelphia art circles.
Charles Schreyvogel (1861-1912)
Born January 4, 1861, just a few months before the beginning of the Civil War, Charles Schreyvogel grew up in poverty on the East Side of New York City. The young boy was educated in public schools and sold newspapers on the city streets. When the family moved to Hoboken, New Jersey, he became a lithographer’s apprentice. Although largely self-taught, the young artist enrolled in the Newark Art League, until, thanks to his generous brothers, Charles traveled to Europe to study. He set sail for Munich in 1886, where he studied for three years at the Munich Art Academy under the tutelage of Karl von Marr and Frank Kirchbach.
Weak from violent seasickness during his voyage home to Hoboken, Charles received doctor’s orders to seek relief out in the dry, hot air of the West. Schreyvogel finally made the journey to the American frontier in 1893, after which time he continued to visit regularly, traveling to the Ute, Sioux, and Crow Reservations. While out West, the artist collected a large amount of American Indian and U.S. cavalry memorabilia, along with making several sketches of all he encountered, whether it be cowboys and Apaches or the horses they rode. Always adhering to detail and historical accuracy, Charles interviewed many veterans of the Plains wars, both Indian and military officers. Now the Hoboken artist was ready to embark on his career as the painter-historian of the Indian Fighting Army of the American West.
Schreyvogel painted profusely, but was unable to find buyers for his western scenes. By the end of the decade, the artist’s luck began to improve with his creation of a large canvas, My Bunkie. In 1899, he entered the painting in the annual exhibition of the National Academy of Design, where it won the Thomas B. Clarke Award for “the best American Figure Composition painted in the United Stated by an American citizen without limit of age.” The painting was a success, attracting large crowds and receiving acclaim in the local papers. Encouraged by the success and fame of My Bunkie, Schreyvogel began painting regularly in his “outdoor studio” atop the roof of his Hoboken home. Because the artist struggled with horse figures, he often worked from several clay models, which the artist had molded into all sorts of positions and expressions.
The press often compared Schreyvogel’s canvases to the work of Frederic Remington, often highlighting Remington’s role as illustrator versus Schreyvogel’s career as a painter. These remarks agitated Remington, who viewed Schreyvogel as a growing concern and competitor. Both men had an eye for detail and remained true to the facts when representing scenes and stories of the West, which was contested when a newspaper published Remington’s letter in which the artist attacked one of Schreyvogel’s most admired paintings, Custer’s Demand. In the 1903 New York Herald article, Remington takes the painting to task, listing the various historical flaws and inaccuracies in Schreyvogel’s composition, calling it “half-baked stuff” and “unhistorical.” Schreyvogel, however, had conducted extensive research to make sure every detail was correct, from the costumes of the men and their equipment to the horses and even the thickness of the stirrup leathers. Many people came to the artist’s defense, including General Custer’s wife, Libbie Custer, and Custer’s good friend, Colonel Schuyler Crosby. Schreyvogel, for his part, never responded to Remington’s criticisms and remained an admirer of the artist. The controversy increased Schreyvogel’s fame, and the artist quickly became known nationwide. After Remington’s death in 1909, Schreyvogel arose to position as the foremost painter of the American West. That same year, he agreed to publish a book of his work, called My Bunkie, which was well-received. Schreyvogel was celebrated for his scenes of conflict and struggle between the U.S. cavalry and Native Americans. These confrontations are often visually enhanced by Schreyvogel’s perspectival illusion wherein the protagonists appear ready to burst through the canvas. Known for their dynamic immediacy, the artist’s paintings are visually engaging and incite a sense of anticipation, making the viewer feel part of the unfolding drama. Schreyvogel died January 27, 1912 from blood poisoning, leaving behind a small, but impressive collection of work.