Joseph Henry Sharp (1859-1953)
Property from an Oklahoma Private Collection
Joseph Henry Sharp (1859-1953)

Rabbit Hunters

Joseph Henry Sharp (1859-1953)
Rabbit Hunters
signed 'JH Sharp' (lower right)--inscribed with title (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
16 x 24 in. (40.6 x 61 cm.)
Painted circa 1920s.
Kennedy Galleries, Inc., New York, by 1975.
J.N. Bartfield Galleries, New York.
Acquired by the late owner from the above, 1984.
"'A Place to Paint': Paintings of the American Southwest," The Kennedy Quarterly, vol. 14, no. 3, October 1975, p. 183, no. 158, illustrated (as Taos Rabbit Hunters).

Lot Essay

Please note the present work is featured in Lot 85 by William Acheff.

We would like to thank Professor Marie Watkins of Furman University for her assistance with cataloguing this lot.

Considered by many to be the 'father of the Taos art colony,' Joseph Henry Sharp is celebrated for his detailed and extensive depictions of the dozens of tribes of the Southwestern and Plains Indians. Born in Ohio in 1859, Sharp attended the Cincinnati Art Academy, where he met fellow artist Henry Farny. In 1893, encouraged by Farny, Sharp first visited Taos and the Pueblo Indians there. His experiences and illustrations from the trip, later published in Harper's Weekly, formed the basis of a career devoted to the American landscape and the native people who lived there.

As depicted in the present work, a favorite subject for Sharp was the rabbit hunt, when several Indian men and boys would ride out to the mesa, armed with bow and arrows, to hunt rabbits for an upcoming feast and dance. The Cincinnati Enquirer praised the artist's execution of one such scene: "None other than Mr. Sharp can paint with such vividness or authority these picturesque Southwest Indians. In his pictures this Indian note which occurs repeatedly becomes a signature: his treatment, so distinctly his own, is never forced; it makes all things fit consistently into his compositions. He delights in painting landscapes and he introduces them again and again into his Indian pieces, and when a canvas may be filled with a fine extended view often a glimpse of a group of Indians wrapped in their blankets may triumphantly creep in. Such a one is 'Rabbit Hunters': there the light envelopes all in a conquering embrace and the Indian remains but an incident in the landscape." (November 26, 1933)

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