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    Description

    EANGER IRVING COUSE (American, 1866-1936)
    Prayer to the Rain God, circa 1926
    Oil on canvas
    24 x 29 inches (61.0 x 73.7 cm)
    Signed lower right: E.I. Couse

    THE HOGAN FAMILY COLLECTION

    This painting will be included in Virginia Couse Leavitt's forthcoming catalogue raisonné.

    PROVENANCE:
    McAdoo Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona, 1976.

    EXHIBITED:
    Southwest Arts Foundation, Houston, Texas, "Art of the American West", March 13-April 3, 1982.

    Prayer to the Rain God depicts Jerry Mirabal, one of E.I. Couse's favorite models and personal friend. Also known by his tribal name of Elk Foot, Mirabal was an American Indian from the Taos Pueblo whose distinct profile appears extensively throughout Couse's work. It is the iconic image of Mirabal which has been preserved in some of the artist's most important canvases. When asked about Elk Foot's prolific appearance in his art, Couse reportedly answered that Mirabal was one of his favorite subjects because of his "physical beauty and ideal features."

    Couse is best known for his dramatically-lit figures of Pueblo Indians, frequently depicted crouching beside a fireplace or bathed in moonlight beside the banks of a stream. Prayer to the Rain God epitomizes the subject matter and the technical skill of this National Academy graduate. Couse was a master of rendering interior scenes of domestic life, and capturing the quiet moments of contemplation and prayer as seen here. A prayer for rain, that element essential to life everywhere but more precious to the arid regions of the southwest, is a universal theme that still resonates.

    This major example of Couse's work was completed around the time that the artist moved his studio and residence from New York to Taos. As the first president of the Taos Society of Artists, Couse spent the summers of 1902 through 1926 painting in northern New Mexico. In 1927 he finally relocated there permanently. According to Virginia Couse Leavitt, the artist's grand-daughter, Prayer to the Rain God dates from this period within Couse's career. She adds "the large Tesuque Rain God, leggings, belt, arm and headbands are still in the collection housed in his studio. The symbolism of the wall painting [behind the figure] also relates to rain." The artist's studio in Taos, complete with the artifacts he collected during his lifetime, is one of only thirty such sites to be designated an Historic Artist's Home and Studio Associate Site by the U.S. National Trust for Historic Preservation.


    Condition Report*: Original canvas. Several small areas of inpaint in the background (not in the figure) and one small area of inpaint in the lower left hand quadrant. Very faint and minor stretcher bar marks. Moderate surface dirt. Overall, nice surface qualities.  Framed Dimensions 35 X 38 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: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,442

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