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Frederick Ferdinand Schafer Painting Catalog

Painting record FFSd0114

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[photo] Indian encampment on the Salmon River, Idaho (attributed)
Photo credit: J. H. Saltzer, 1993
Date: 1889
Medium: oil on canvas
Size: 18 x 30 in (46 x 76 cm)
Inscription: no inscription
Verso: "Indian Encampment on the Salmon River, Idaho. Fredrick Schafer 1889.", unknown script hand, in pencil on the stretcher. The words "B…Lake" in the same hand have been incompletely erased.
Provenance: To private collection, Chicago, Illinois, 1893; by descent in the family in 1936 and 1973; with Grogan and Company, Boston, 15 June 1988; to private collection, New England, 1988.
Citations: 15 June 1988 sale catalog 002, lot 89; Grogan letter to present owner, 29 June 1988
Attribution: Since the painting is unsigned, and labeled in an unfamiliar hand, attribution is problematic. The palette, composition, level of detail, and brushwork all appear to be typical of Schafer. Several other paintings indicate travel in Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and Utah, and one other (signed) painting from the same region, Evening on the Salmon River, Idaho, has emerged.
Site: View of the Salmon river canyon about five miles North of Riggins, Idaho.
Description: The river winds from the center toward the left, finally turning toward the right foreground in a canyon with high desert mountains on both sides. The point on the left bank formed by the first river bend is mostly covered with a broadleaf forest; in a clearing are seven decorated (Nez Perce?) tepees. The smoke from a campfire drifts across the clearing and an Indian looks across the river bend directly at the viewer. The bank immediately at the viewer's feet is covered with brush, grass, and wild flowers. The surrounding mountains are in two ranges; the nearer is of varied brownish hues, the farther of varied purplish hues. The sky, which occupies only a small V-shaped area at the top left, is filled with clouds. The level of detail varies. The tepees and the Indian are quite clear, the trees fairly clear, the reflections in the river somewhat indistinct, and the background desert mountains are mostly shapes and shadows. Both the color and the texture of the river, the forest, and especially the surrounding mountains have been captured extraordinarily well. (From the painting, 15 June 1989)
Note: 1. The handwritten pencil inscription is probably not by the artist. The script is not familiar (compare, for example, with artist's handwritten script in the presentation inscriptions on [Woman walking toward a village in winter] and [Figures overlooking a wilderness landscape]) and the artist is not likely to misspell his first name. 2. It is likely that this painting was one that appeared in Schafer's 1888 Chicago exhibition of 157 paintings, as reported in (Chicago) The Sunday Inter Ocean, June 3 and 10, 1888.

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Feb 13, 2017, 11:05 MST