HENRY F. FARNY (1847-1916)
HENRY F. FARNY (1847-1916)
HENRY F. FARNY (1847-1916)
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HENRY F. FARNY (1847-1916)
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HENRY F. FARNY (1847-1916)

First Sketch for 'In the Shadow'

HENRY F. FARNY (1847-1916)
First Sketch for 'In the Shadow'
signed and dated '·H.F. Farny./1897·' with artist's device and inscribed with title (lower right)
gouache on joined paper laid down on board
29 1⁄8 x 17 3⁄4 in. (73.9 x 40.1 cm.)
Executed in 1897.
M.M. Herschede.
Private collection, Miami, Florida, acquired from the above, 1955.
Christie's, New York, 23 May 2001, lot 77, sold by the above.
Acquired by the late owner from the above.
New York, University Club, February-April 1963, no. 2.
Cincinnati, Ohio, Indian Hill Historical Museum Association, Henry F. Farny, 1975, n.p., no. 39, illustrated.

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Tylee Abbott
Tylee Abbott Vice President, Head of American Art

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Lot Essay

During the last decades of the nineteenth century, the market for Western American paintings was extremely robust and it was at this point that Henry Farny was painting some of his most exceptional works. "After collecting a large cache of Indian material while with the Sioux at Fort Yates, he returned to Cincinnati with a number of sketches, mostly Indian portraits rather than landscapes. In addition, he took over 124 photographs and acquired a considerable number of artifacts, such as a buffalo tooth necklace, a war bonnet, and a tobacco pouch. This material became the basis for Farny's Indian paintings, because he used and reused certain motifs from these sources to create his compositions." (D. Carter, Henry Farny, New York, 1978, p. 21)

A classic composition for Farny, in the present work the artist has approached his subject from a directly forward, yet slightly elevated position. This enables him to capture an intimate sense of scene unfolding before him, while maintaining a narrator's distance. Farny's audience is allowed to see the subjects at extremely close range, complete to the most minute detail. However, the footsteps that trail from the Native American subject and his horse suggest their journey, probably a long one through the mountains.

The artist, well-respected by scholars and connoisseurs of American art, enjoys the highest praise for his work. In an introduction to the monograph published for the first major retrospective of the artist's work in many years, Millard F. Rogers, Jr., director of the Cincinnati Art Museum noted: "Among painters of the American Indian and the West, there is none better than Henry F. Farny. There are better known artists, to be sure, such as Frederic Remington and Charles Russell, but no one equaled Farny's careful rendering of the western landscape, his strong yet sympathetic depiction of the American Indian, and his well-crafted and lucid painting of dramatic incidents in the Far West. Equally accomplished in oil or gouache, Farny concentrated on a limited genre and found ready patronage. Today's collectors have the same eager appreciation of Farny's glimpses of the old and now-disappeared West that his patrons did at the turn of the century." (M.F. Rogers, Jr. in Henry Farny, New York, 1978, p. 11)

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