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    WILLIAM HERBERT DUNTON (American, 1878-1936)
    Prairie Courtship
    Oil on canvas
    30 x 20 inches (76.2 x 50.8 cm)
    Signed lower right: W. Herbert Dunton


    Jim Fowler's Period Gallery (West), Scottsdale, Arizona, 1977 (label verso).

    Southwest Arts Foundation, Houston, Texas, "Art of the American West", March 13-April 3, 1982;
    National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, "The Cowboy: An American Icon", January 16-May 31, 1999 (label verso).

    A Southwest Arts Foundation catalogue for the 1982 exhibition Art of the American West is included with this lot.

    Prairie Courtship exemplifies Dunton's narrative skill as an artist and demonstrates why he was such a successful illustrator in the early twentieth century. Popular as a contributor to the leading publications of his day, Dunton specialized in nostalgic scenes of the Old West. His paintings function as self-contained narratives in their own right, whether accompanying the text of a magazine story or as a stand-alone work of art. His talent as a painter resulted in great success as a working illustrator, and eventually allowed him to transition to easel painting full time.

    What made Dunton an exceptional visual storyteller was his understanding of human nature and the artistic skill with which to capture it. His canvases are a Freudian study of repressed emotion, body language, and personal relationships. The rendering of his figures provides all the necessary visual clues for viewers to recreate the unheard dialogue for ourselves.

    In Prairie Courtship a couple on horseback is shown coming down a central dirt road that extends through the foreground. This compositional device places us as the viewer directly in the couple's path, and inherently engages us in the action. The courting man leans towards the woman imploringly, as she physically turns away from his unwanted advances. She averts her face from the suitor, creating a physical barrier between them and distancing herself from the question still hanging in the air. As observers of this painted scene, it is unnecessary for us to overhear the couple's discussion in order to know the result of their conversation. Dunton has included us in the painting's private moment intentionally, and we now find we have a vested interest in the story's outcome and in the woman's inevitable answer.

    More information about WILLIAM HERBERT DUNTON, also known as Dunton, William Herbert, Dunton, W. Herbert, William Herbert Dunton.

    Condition Report*: Original canvas is not lined and in good condition.  Framed Dimensions 39 X 29 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
    November, 2012
    10th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,564

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