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Charles Schreyvogel (American, 1861-1912)
At the time of his unexpected death from blood poisoning in 1912, Charles Schreyvogel was considered one of the most popular artists of the Old West, revered for his nostalgic images of a disappearing frontier. His fame arrived late in life, when his painting My Bunkie won first prize at the 1900 National Academy of Design exhibition, yet he had been training since his youth as an artist.
Born in 1861 to German immigrants settled in New York City, Schreyvogel apprenticed during the 1870s to a gold engraver and a lithographer before enrolling in the Newark Art League. With the financial assistance of his brothers, he traveled abroad and studied from 1886-1890 at the Munich Royal Academy, there developing an interest in realism and genre scenes.
The watershed moment in Schreyvogel's career occurred back home in 1893 when he attended Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and sketched for the first time the stuff of his childhood dreams: cowboys and Indians. He was so entranced with these new subjects that soon afterwards he visited the Ute Reservation in Colorado -- an opportunity to photograph and paint local legends and begin collecting western artifacts as props for compositions. Schreyvogel's insistence on thorough preliminary research prompted future trips to the Dakotas, but also limited his production, ultimately fewer than 100 paintings. He also executed a handful of sculptures which, like his paintings, celebrated stories of heroism and bravery.
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