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    JOSEPH HENRY SHARP (American, 1859-1953)
    Oil on canvas
    20 x 16 inches (50.8 x 40.6 cm)
    Signed lower left: J.H. Sharp
    Titled on stretcher: Jerry

    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 Indian subjects 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.

    Sharp began collecting Native American costumes and other material, while in Montana. By the time he set up his studio in Taos, he had amassed a large collection that he frequently utilized in his paintings. He often dressed models from the nearby Taos Pueblo in these Northern Plains costumes. One of his favorite models was a Taos Indian, named Jerry Mirabel (also known as Elk Foot). Mirabel modeled for Sharp from 1913 to 1949. This painting, simply titled Jerry, is a classic example of Sharp's ability to convey the individual humanity and personality of his subject, while at the same time presenting a universal representation of Native America.

    Dressed in traditional Northern Plains attire of beaded and quilled buckskins and an eagle feather headdress, Jerry represents a culture and lifestyle that had already been irrevocably altered by modern times. Yet, in his handling of Jerry's face, Sharp is able to convey a persevering spirit that will endure.

    Portraits such as this one can be found today in such major museums as the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis, and the Rockwell Museum of Western Art in Corning, New York.

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

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2010
    15th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,788

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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