Seminole by Herbert Herget

Name: Seminole | Artist: Herbert Herget Media: Watercolor and gouache on paper | Year(s): c. 1930
Herbert Herget | Seminole | c. 1930 | Watercolor and gouache on paper | 17 7/8 inches x 12 1/2 inches

About the Work

This brightly colored Indian study by Herbert M. Herget is one of ten works on paper, probably intended for classroom use to illustrate variety in tribal costume. All the subjects represented, some in borrowed poses (George Catlin, Carl Wimar, and N.C. Wyeth deserve a nod of thanks), are rendered in the same linear style as the paintings he executed for National Geographic Magazine. Early acquisitions by Sid Richardson, they were purchased by him in 1943.

About Herbert Herget

Born in St. Louis in 1885, Herbert M. Herget enjoyed drawing as a young boy, finding inspiration from the reproductions of Frederic Remington’s paintings published in American magazines of the day. He attended public schools in St. Louis after which he took a course in sculpture. After six months of sculpture he decided to pursue painting. Herget received his first serious training as a painter at the Washington University School of Fine Art. Later, he spent several years serving as an apprentice and illustrator for the publishers Woodard & Tiernan.

Interested in the American Indian, Herget began to travel extensively throughout the American West, amassing a collection of Native art and craftwork. By the 1930s and through the 1940s, the artist was producing detailed, ethnologically sophisticated illustrations of life in the Ancient and New World civilizations for the National Geographic Society. Between 1935 and 1950, Herget’s series on the Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas appears in National Geographic Magazine.

Artists were integral to the publication as illustrators like Herget collaborated with scientists to interpret and transform the researched information, revealing the marvels of nature and grandeur of civilizations that prospered long ago. Over the course of fifteen years, Herget produced 158 paintings for National Geographic. He often worked in watercolor. The precise medium allowed Herget to capture minute detail and clarity of line.

Little is known about the artist apart from his work. Herbert Herget died in 1950.