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Portrait Gallery of American Indians

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Gallery of American Indians


Selection of Indian images cont.

Stanley: Trial of Red Jacket
John Mix Stanley. [The Trial Of Red Jacket.] Signed in image, "J. M. Stanley 1869." Berlin: Storch & Kramer, 1871. Chromolithograph. 23 x 35 (sight). Print was laid on a board which is stable. Some old rubs repaired and inpainted. In old frame. Overall, fine condition. Very scarce. Ref: Peter Marzio, The Democratic Art, pp. 181f., plate 104.

A superior chromolithograph and a very scarce print after John Mix Stanley's famous painting "The Trial of Red Jacket." Red Jacket (ca. 1750-20 Jan. 1830) was a Seneca chief who became a leader of his nation during the American Revolution. Allied to the British, the Seneca found themselves on the losing side at the end of hostilities. From a weakened position, Red Jacket emerged as a negotiator and speaker rather than a warrior, to the consternation of many among the tribe. In 1792 he led a delegation of 50 Indians to Philadelphia where he met George Washington and received a large peace medal showing him shaking hands with the first president. As in this scene, Red Jacket is always portrayed wearing this medal. Nevertheless, in 1801 after defending Seneca tribal ways, which included rejection of Christianity, he was brought to trial for witchcraft by fellow tribesmen. His oratory provide a successful defense, and he emerged from the trial as a leader who preserved Seneca lands that included a reservation in the area of present-day Buffalo, New York. He and his tribe fought on the American side during the War of 1812, and that participation enabled the Seneca to retain their land for years after the death of this noble leader.

Stanley was interested in marketing his western images to a wider public than could afford his paintings, and so decided to use the relatively new and elaborate process of chromolithography. This process, with its many layers of color, most closely duplicated the appearance of original oil paintings, and Stanley hoped the resulting prints would help make his fortune. In 1869, Stanley arranged for a German publisher to issue chromolithographs of some of his paintings. The resulting prints proved to be quite popular, but the advent of the Franco-Prussian War soon made the business arrangement difficult to continue and few prints were ever produced. This rare example of one of Stanley's prints is a fine illustration both of the quality of his work and of the art of chromolithography in the late nineteenth century. $6,800

Wyoming Massacre
F.O.C. Darley. "Wyoming." New York: W.H. Holbrooke, 1852. Engraving by J.C. McRae. 18 1/4 x 25 1/2. Hand color. Very good condition.

A dramatic, large engraving based on F.O.C. Darley's drawing of the Wyoming Valley massacre. Darley is perhaps best known as America's first great illustrator, producing numerous images for books and magazines in the nineteenth century. He also, though, produced many historical images which were made into separate folio prints. Indeed, such was Darley's influence through his illustrations and prints that he must be seen as seminal in the forging of the American national identity. This print shows the fight on July 3, 1777 between Patriot militia and Loyalist troops supported by Indian allies in the Wyoming Valley in northern Pennsylvania. After a brief but fierce battle, the militia troops fled, only to be pursed, especially by the Indians, who killed and tortured those they could catch. This "massacre" became a rallying point for Patriots leading to retaliation in the Sullivan-Clinton campaign against the Iroquois in 1779. This print was supposed to be "First of a Series of national Engravings" to be issued by W.H. Holbrooke, or both New York and London, but none others seem to have been issued. $1,200

Mid-nineteenth century Indian portraits. From various publications. Ca. 1850-60. Wood engravings. Original hand color. Good condition, though some with stains.

In the mid-nineteenth century, a number of histories of the United States were issued containing wood-engraved illustrations of American views, portraits and scenes from our past. Some of these were potraits of famous Native Americans, who were beginning to be looked at as historic figures of note and interest.

From Photographs by Ranger & Austin. "The Onondaga Indians." From Harper's Weekly, New York, February 17, 1872. Full page with text and five images: "The Methodist Church," "Epiphany Chapel," "Offering The Sacrifice," "Captain George," and "The Christian Family." Wood engravings. Very good condition.

A page from this famous illustrated newspaper about the the Onondaga Indians who lived south of Syracuse, New York. Interesting text and images based on photographs. $50


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