DescriptionHoward A. Terpning (American, b. 1927)
Against the Cold Maker, 1992
Oil on canvas
30 x 46 inches (76.2 x 116.8 cm)
Signed and dated lower right: Terpning NAWA / 1992
Signed and titled on the backing board: Against the Cold Maker / HA Terpning
PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT TEXAS COLLECTION
Scottsdale Art Auction, Scottsdale, Arizona, April 6, 2013, lot 291;
Private collection, Texas, acquired from the above.
National Academy of Western Art, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, n.d.
Fred Myers, the late director of the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma, once said of Howard Terpning: "I have no doubt that Howard's work will be appreciated a hundred years from now just as much as it is today." Against the Cold Maker, Terpning's masterful depiction of three North Plains Indians persevering on their journey through cold, unrelenting terrain, amply illustrates the validity of Myers' observation.
In terms of composition, use of color, and the expert handling of tone and shading, the painting shows Terpning's consummate skill as a painter. Here perfectly captures the snowy landscape, the determination of the horses, and the subtle nuances of human movement. Terpning has said that he wants to give the viewers of his paintings a "sense of being there;" a visceral feel for the land depicted and the time portrayed. Certainly, he has succeeded with this canvas. The frigid winter landscape painted in grays and blues, the brittle trees and shrubs in the distance, juxtaposed against a fiery sunset sky, are so deftly captured that the viewer has a feeling of witnessing the frigid procession first hand as it quietly passes.
Terpning shows here that he is a master at capturing the details of Native American people. The details of the subjects' winter blankets, capotes, and weapons, the realistic portrayal of the warrior's physiques as they lean forward against the biting wind, and the manner in which the horses have been packed, all show that Terpning is not only a great artist, but also a dedicated student of history.
As he has done in preparation for countless other paintings, Terpning immersed himself in the history of the American Indians and uses that knowledge to tell their story. Terpning used his knowledge of the Blackfoot Indian tribes to craft a visual narrative, to tell a story that sheds light on real people at a real time in their history. He used his talent as a painter to bring that story to life.
Over a career spanning thirty-five years, Terpning has become one of the most celebrated contemporary artists in the western genre. His talent has been recognized by collectors, his fellow artists, museum curators, and most importantly in his eyes, by Native Americans who see in him an ambassador for the preservation of their history. Against the Cold Maker is the culmination of Terpning's skill as a painter, as a storyteller, and as a champion of Native American history.
More information about Howard A. Terpning, also known as Terpning, Howard A., .
Framed Dimensions 40.5 X 56 Inches
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