Skip to main content
Go to accessibility options


    Howard 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


    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., .

    Condition Report*: Unlined canvas; there do not appear to be any major condition issues in UV nor raking light.
    Framed Dimensions 40.5 X 56 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. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2020
    1st Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 8,115

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold on Jul 1, 2020 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item