DescriptionHOWARD A. TERPNING (American, b. 1927)
Plunder From Sonora, 1982
Oil on canvas
30 x 48 inches (76.2 x 121.9 cm)
Signed lower right: Terpning
WEIDER HEALTH AND FITNESS COLLECTION
The Autry National Center, Los Angeles, California, Tribute to the Plains People: the Art of Howard Terpning, April 2-July 31, 2012, #HT079.
H. Brown, Terpning: Tribute to the Plains People, Greenwich, Connecticut, 2012, p. 143 illus;
H. Cantu, "Western Classics," Intelligent Collector, Summer/Fall 2012, cover, pp. 38-45, p. 26 illus;
J. Geraghty, "A Tribute to Terpning," Western Art Collector, May 2012 (vol 57), pp. 40-49, pp. 44-45 illus.
This lot is accompanied by a copy of the book Terpning: Tribute to the Plains People.
Fred Myers, the late director of the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, 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." Plunder from Sonora, Terpning's masterful depiction of three Apache warriors returning from a Mexican raid 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 he has perfectly captured the landscape, the confirmation 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 southwestern landscape with its golds and browns, the texture of the brittle grass and shrubs, even the dust of the trail are so deftly captured that the viewer has a feeling of witnessing the procession first hand as it quietly passes.
Although much of his work has been devoted to telling the history of Northern Plains tribes, Terpning shows here that he is a master at capturing the details of Southern Plains people as well. The details of clothing and weapons, the realistic portrayal of the warrior's physiques, 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. Of this painting, he said, " Although the Apaches lived primarily in Arizona and New Mexico, they ranged easily into the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico and considered Sonora and Chihuahua their own province. To them, both Americans and Mexicans were foreign invaders deserving of no quarter and as a general rule the Apaches offered none. This painting depicts an Apache raiding party on its return from an excursion into Sonora, bringing home about as much loot as they could pack onto their horses."
Terpning used his knowledge of the Apache 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. As Myers said, that talent will be on display and greatly appreciated for many years to come.
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. Plunder from Sonora is the culmination of Terpning's skill as a painter, as a storyteller, and as a champion of Native American history.
Original canvas is not lined and in very good condition. Paint layer is in very good condition. UV examination revealed no visible restoration. Framed Dimensions 45 X 62 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. 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. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.
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