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    Joseph Henry Sharp (American, 1859-1953)
    Butterflies (Alberto, Taos Indian Boy), 1915
    Oil on canvas
    16 x 24 inches (40.6 x 61.0 cm)
    Signed lower left: JHSharp
    Titled on the reverse: Alberto, / Taos Indian Boy
    Titled on the stretcher: Butterflies - Alberto - Taos

    The artist;
    Judge Alfred Nippert, acquired from the above, 1915;
    Private collection, circa 1930s;
    By descent in the family;
    Christie's, New York, December 4, 2008, lot 75 (as Alberto (Blue Drapery);
    [With]The Owings Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico (as Butterflies (Alberto, Taos Indian Boy));
    Private collection, Taos, New Mexico.

    F. Fenn, Teepee Smoke: A New Look into the Life and Work of Joseph Henry Sharp, Santa Fe, New Mexico,2007, p. 311, no. 48.

    Joseph Henry Sharp was one of the most influential artists of the American Southwest. In his 94 years he produced a remarkable body of work, much of it dedicated to the sensitive portrayal of Native Americans. Sharp grew up in Cincinnati, where he studied briefly with Henry Farny, another artist largely known for his Native American subjects. Formally trained in the academies of Europe, Sharp first began painting American Indians in Montana, where he established a studio on the Crow Reservation and frequently painted tribal leaders. His work on the reservation led to a magazine illustration assignment that took him to Northern New Mexico. Sharp was captivated with the land, the light, and the native cultures of the Southwest. While studying in Europe, Sharp met two other Midwestern artists, Ernest Blumenschein and Bert Phillips. His stories of New Mexico and the Southwest inspired the two artists to take a painting trip to the area. Eventually all three artists would move to the small Northern New Mexico town of Taos and form the Taos Society of Artists.

    Painted the same year the Taos Society of Artists was founded, Butterflies (Alberto, Taos Indian Boy) lightheartedly displays one of Sharp's favorite models -- a young Pueblo boy, Alberto Luhan. Here we see Sharp's mastery in handling light and shadow. The young Alberto, tranquil in his pose and soaking up the Southwestern sunshine, connects with his land and gazes peacefully into the distance. In 1915 there was an exhibition entitled "Indian and Western Paintings" at Gibson House galleries in Cincinnati, Ohio. That show featured four paintings of young Alberto, titled Beside the Teepee's Blaze, Taos Indian Boy, and one called simply Alberto. In 1915 art critic Mary L. Alexander praised Sharp's annual winter Cincinnati exhibition, noting "...The way he handles the Indian-a closer, more intimate touch...." In the photograph illustrated below, Sharp sits in his studio with Butterflies (Alberto, Taos Indian Boy), 1915, hanging above him -- undoubtedly a work that he displayed with great pride.

    More information about Joseph Henry Sharp, also known as Sharp, Joseph Henry, Joseph Henry Sharp, Sharp, J. H..

    Condition Report*: Original canvas. Under UV exam, there does not appear to be inpaint. Scattered craquelure throughout. Tiny 1/4 inch flock of loss right of the figure's elbow. 1/4 inch white dot of surface soiling in the lower left quadrant.
    Framed Dimensions 22.5 X 30.5 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: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 677

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