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    Description

    Eanger Irving Couse (American, 1866-1936)
    The Pictographs, 1919
    Oil on canvas
    24 x 29 inches (61.0 x 73.7 cm)
    Signed lower right: E.I. Couse
    Titled on the stretcher: The Pictographs

    Property from a Palm Beach Estate

    PROVENANCE:
    Anne Windfohr Marion, Fort Worth, Texas;
    Sotheby's, New York, May 27, 1999, lot 34;
    Private collection, Palm Beach, Florida, acquired from the above;
    Estate of the above.

    EXHIBITED:
    Lincoln Fine Arts Shop, Lincoln, Nebraska, March 1920;
    Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs, California, n.d. (on loan from Anne Marion).

    Eanger Irving Couse's The Pictographs of 1919 embodies the finest qualities of the artist's oeuvre: The romantic subject of the contemplative lone Indian in nature, kneeling at the base of a rock, lost in a seemingly meditative state as he works on the task at hand. Numerous ancient images appear on the rock surface behind him, and he is shown chiseling a new image into the surface, rather meticulously. In describing this subject Couse wrote, "The Rocky Mountain region abounds in pictographs cut into the rocks by the ancient Indians representing figures of men & animals & symbols of natural phenomenon. Having no written language, the Indians depicted their deeds & legends by pictorial representation on skin or the rocks...."

    In 1919, Couse was at the height of his career, having fully established himself within the Taos art community. In 1902, after decades of training in illustrious institutions, including the Chicago Art Institute, National Academy of Design in New York, and Académie Julian in Paris, the artist first heard about Taos through his friend and fellow artist Ernest Blumenschein, who described the incomparable light and fresh subjects that the town's environs had to offer. Enticed, Couse and his wife, artist Virginia Walker, began spending their summers in Taos, all too happy to leave behind the rat race of New York. In 1910, they refurbished a Spanish monastery there into a home and studio. Five years later, the Taos Society of Artists was formed, and Couse was elected its first president. His paintings from this period readily adopted a brighter palette and indigenous subjects, particularly the Pueblo Indians, whose gentle demeanor and artistic practices reminded him of the Chippewa Indians he had drawn as a boy in Saganaw, Michigan.

    Couse's celebrity in Taos continued to grow well after his family permanently settled there in 1927, due in large measure to the patronage of the Santa Fe Railroad, which published over twenty of his paintings on the cover of its annual calendar.

    We wish to thank Virginia Leavitt, granddaughter of E.I. Couse, for providing invaluable information on this lot, which will be included in her forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist's work.


    More information about Eanger Irving Couse, also known as Couse, Eanger Irving, Coase, E. Irving, Couse, Eanger-Irving, Eanger Irving Couse.



    Condition Report*: Glue lined canvas. Under UV exam, an approx. 1/2 inch thick oval line approximately 4 inches in dimeter, right of the figures head. The varnish fluoresces green. Fine craquelure, most visible in figures head.
    Framed Dimensions 33.5 X 38.5 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
    May, 2021
    7th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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