Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Nearly every turn-of-the-twentieth-century sculptor of western themes, whether an animal specialist or not, at some point modeled the bison, the largest North American mammal. Whether poised or active, static or frenetic, the bison appears as the principle subject in six sculptures in The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925.
Posted: Wednesday, February 19, 2014
James Earle Fraser's End of the Trail is one of the most iconic works featured in The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925. First modeled in 1894, the sculpture is based on Fraser's experiences growing up in Dakota Territory; as he wrote in his memoirs, "as a boy, I remembered an old Dakota trapper saying, 'The Indians will someday be pushed into the Pacific Ocean.'" The artist later said that, "the idea occurred to me of making an Indian which represented his race reaching the end of the trail, at the edge of the Pacific." In 1915, Fraser displayed a monumental plaster version of the work at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, earning popular acclaim and a gold medal.
Posted: Wednesday, January 22, 2014
In the mid-nineteenth century, the American West was a popular subject for artists working in a variety of media, from painters and illustrators to photographers and printmakers. At that time, images of western buttes and bison, cowboys and American Indians were widely disseminated by the popular press, captivating national and international audiences. These works familiarized the public with the facts and fictions of the West, helping to lay the foundation for the flourishing of western-themed bronze sculpture at the turn of the twentieth century.