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    Description

    E. MARTIN HENNINGS (American, 1886-1956)
    The War Bonnet
    Oil on canvas
    48-1/2 x 36 inches (123.2 x 91.4 cm)
    Signed lower right: E. Martin Hennings

    EXHIBITED:
    Tucson Museum of Art, "Arizona Collects the West", October 16-December 7, 1983.

    The War Bonnet is a major painting by one of the Taos School's finest artists, E. Martin Hennings. Trained at both the Art Institute of Chicago and the Munich Academy, Hennings did not reach his full potential as an artist until he traveled to Taos in 1917. His trip was sponsored by two prominent Chicago collectors, Carter Harrison and Oscar Meyer. These two patrons had previously sent two of Hennings' friends and fellow Munich students, Walter Ufer and Victor Higgins, on a similar journey. All three artists were early members of the Taos Society of Artists.

    In Taos, Hennings was inspired by the centuries-old culture of the New Mexican Pueblos and a beautiful landscape that was suffused with a brilliant sunlight. He quickly moved away from the somber tones of the Munich school in favor of the bright colors and high contrasts of the Southwest. Although he was adept at depicting the beauty of the New Mexican countryside, he felt that his greatest talent was that of a figure painter. Like many of his contemporaries in Taos, Hennings frequently used models from the nearby Taos Pueblo. For the most part, he portrayed them in their own traditional clothing unlike other contemporary artists who dressed their Taos models in Plains Indian clothing. Hennings chose to paint his models in their own context in a manner that reflected the quiet dignity of their historical culture.

    In this painting, Hennings offers a subtle reminder of the difference between the Indians of New Mexico and those of the Plains, the people that had been most often depicted in earlier artistic renditions of the American West. Here a Taos Indian dressed in a traditional style silently contemplates a war bonnet from the Northern Plains. He is standing in front of a painted screen bearing a floral motif, a backdrop reflecting a more Victorian setting. In a single scene, Hennings presents elements of three distinct cultures - Plains Indians, Pueblo Indians, and Anglo. His main figure and primary interest is the Taos Pueblo Indian who is boldly contrasted against the rest of the scene by a bright red robe draped over his shoulders. Both the figure of the man and the bonnet are painted with the assurance of a master.

    While many of Hennings' paintings show his subjects set against a colorful landscape, The War Bonnet places the central figure in a completely different context. In doing so, Hennings focuses our attention on a specific individual who is also representative of their entire culture. The result is a painting that resonates with a quiet but powerful authority.


    Condition Report*: Canvas has been wax-lined. No evidence of inpainting under UV light. Minor scattered pinhole-sized abrasions are visible along the upper extreme edges of the canvas.  Framed Dimensions 46 X 42 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2012
    10th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,989

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