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Henry François Farny

Henry François Farny


Nationality: American

Few late nineteenth-century artists of the American West better evoked the humanistic spirit of the Indian than Henry Farny. His family moved in 1847 from Alsace, France, to western Pennsylvania, where as a six-year-old he observed his mother caring for members of a local Seneca tribe. This fascination with Native American culture remained with Farny as he initiated his career in Cincinnati as an illustrator, receiving early commissions from Harper's Weekly and Century Magazine. During the 1880s, Farny made four major trips to the West, most on magazine assignments, each time sketching and photographing reservation life and gathering materials for compositions he assembled back in his Cincinnati studio. After 1890, painting replaced illustration as Farny's preferred medium. Working primarily in gouache, he rendered moving portraits of Comanche, Sioux, and Zuni leaders in native dress, as well as Indian genre scenes. Farny distinguished himself from fellow illustrators Frederic Remington and Charles Russell by depicting his subjects engaged in tranquil everyday pastimes rather than in violent combat with enemies—a strategy for heroizing what he considered a deeply intelligent people.

After his trip to Fort Yates, North Dakota in 1881, Farny began painting bust portraits of both identifiable and unknown Indians, a practice he continued for the rest of his career. Of these, his most famous was that of Sitting Bull from 1899, which posed the Little Bighorn warrior in full regalia. Others show anonymous sitters in western clothing, signaling the encroachment of white civilization.


Henry François Farny Original Art Values Sold at Auction

Item Realized
The Hon. Paul H. Buchanan, Jr. Collection  HENRY FRANÇOIS FARNY (American, 1847-1916) Saddling Up, 1895 Gouache o...
The Hon. Paul H. Buchanan, Jr. CollectionHENRY FRANÇOIS FARNY (American, 1847-1916)Saddling Up, 1895Gouache on p...
Lot 77037
Auction 5024
Thursday, June 11, 2009
HENRY FRANÇOIS FARNY (American, 1847-1916) The Ambush Oil on canvas 20 x 12 inches (50.8 x 30.5 cm) Signed lower...
HENRY FRANÇOIS FARNY (American, 1847-1916)The AmbushOil on canvas20 x 12 inches (50.8 x 30.5 cm)Signed lower rig...
Lot 76015
Auction 5116
Saturday, November 10, 2012
HENRY FRANCOIS FARNY (American 1847-1916) Ogalala Fire, circa 1890-1900 Oil on canvas 11 x 9 inches (27.9 x 22.9 cm)
HENRY FRANCOIS FARNY (American 1847-1916)Ogalala Fire, circa 1890-1900Oil on canvas11 x 9 inches (27.9 x 22.9 cm)...
Lot 24026
Auction 652
Friday, May 25, 2007
HENRY FRANÇOIS FARNY (American, 1847-1916) Wyoming Territory Watercolor on paper 10-1/2 x 14 inches (26.7 x 35.6...
HENRY FRANÇOIS FARNY (American, 1847-1916)Wyoming TerritoryWatercolor on paper10-1/2 x 14 inches (26.7 x 35.6 cm)...
Lot 75086
Auction 5026
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
HENRY F. FARNEY (American 1847-1916) Indian Scout on Horseback Pen and ink on paper 7-1/2 x 9 inches (19.1 x 22.9 cm)
HENRY F. FARNEY (American 1847-1916)Indian Scout on HorsebackPen and ink on paper7-1/2 x 9 inches (19.1 x 22.9 cm)...
Lot 23365
Auction 656
Friday, December 7, 2007

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PLEASE NOTE: All prices realized reflect the final hammer price PLUS the buyer's premium in auctions that charge a buyer's premium. Each item has a notation at the top of the listing indicating whether that lot included a buyer's premium. All information listed is intended to be as accurate as possible, but errors are possible. Please use this guide carefully and inform us of any inaccuracies.

Buy Henry François Farny

ItemCurrent Bid or Price
Henry François Farny (American, 1847-1916) Portrait of Chief John Williams Oil on leather war drum 16 inches (40...
Henry François Farny (American, 1847-1916) Portrait of Chief John Williams Oil on leather war drum 16 inches (40.6 x ... (1)

Auction 5351
Friday, May 4, 2018

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