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

Mad Wolf, Blackfeet Chief

Details
Joseph Henry Sharp (1859-1953)
Mad Wolf, Blackfeet Chief
signed 'J.H. Sharp. Blackfeet Res.' (lower right)--inscribed with title (along the upper edge)
oil on canvas
18 x 12 in. (45.7 x 30.5 cm.)
Painted in 1903.
Provenance
The artist.
Walter McClintock, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, acquired from the above, 1903.
J.N. Bartfield Galleries, New York.
Acquired by the late owner from the above, 1983.
Literature
F. Fenn, The Beat of the Drum and the Whoop of the Dance: A Study of the Life and Work of Joseph Henry Sharp, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1983, p. 331, no. 2534 (as Mad Wolf).
F. Fenn, Teepee Smoke: A New Look Into the Life and Work of Joseph Henry Sharp, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2007, p. 333, no. 2534 (as Mad Wolf).

Lot Essay

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


Around the turn of the twentieth century, in addition to Joseph Henry Sharp, another frequent visitor to Montana's Blackfeet Indian Reservation was author and photographer Walter McClintock, who was eventually adopted by the chief, Mad Wolf. In his 1910 memoir The Old North Trail, or Life, Legends and Religion of the Blackfeet Indians, McClintock describes Mad Wolf much as he appears in the present work, writing, "His long hair tinged with gray fell loosely over his shoulders. From his neck hung a medicine whistle made from the wing-bone of an eagle. In his back hair, a single eagle feather stood erect...For a moment, he gazed into my face with eyes as penetrating as those of an eagle." (p. 26)

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