Caution Born of Necessity, Giclee on Canvas, Limited to 125, Dimensions: 23" x 14", Published 2014.
Plains Indian life was not the idyllic at-peace-with-the-world existence some romanticists would like us to believe. The Indian lived with constant exposure to the elements, to hunger and privation and the less-than-tender mercies of enemy neighbors. Like the wild animals among whom he lived and from whom he took careful lessons in survival, he developed a strong sense of watchfulness, of caution.
As a storyteller, Terpning is able to use the simple task of getting water as a vivid example of the tenuous nature of Plains Indian life. As an artist, the water provides Terpning with the ability to create a great abstract form that leaps out from this work, driven by the cool reflections of the river and the man leaning hesitantly forward. His reflection in the water and that of his horse, form a part of that dynamic shape. The slight touches of light upon the horse make this vivid work complete.
MEET HOWARD TERPNING When Howard Terpning’s paintbrush touches the canvas, there is a profound commitment behind its spirit, a vital force that drives the originality of each painting with a heartfelt purpose. The compassion, strength, and vulnerability that radiates from the canvas is not only a testament to his skills, but a reflection of the artist, and the man himself. Terpning has become one of the most lauded painters of Western art today and is considered by many a national treasure. He is amongst the rare group of artists to see his work sell for over a million dollars in his lifetime. This is not only a rating of the mastery of his skills as an artist, but of his employment of them to allow the viewer to experience the deep respect for people and nature that drives his art. Born in Illinois and educated at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and the American Academy of Art, Terpning first gained attention through his advertising and editorial illustrations. His vision became the force behind such classic movie posters as “The Sound of Music”, “Dr. Zhivago”, and the 1967 re-issue of “Gone with the Wind”. Always a Marine, Terpning answered the call again, making combat patrols around Da Nang with a camera and sketch pad for the Corps in Vietnam during 1967, but his love of the West and Native American traditions fueled his transition to fine art. He has become known as the Storyteller of the Native American because of his devotion and respect for the Plains Indian. The late Fred A. Myers, director of the Gilcrease Museum, said of Terpning, “He is simply the best and best-known artist doing Western subjects at this point. He is among a very small group of painters of the West in the late 20th century whose art will still be hanging in museums and appreciated a hundred years from now.” His work has been exhibited around the world and collected in museums including the Autry National Center, the Phoenix Museum, and the Booth Western Art Museum, along with many of the most prestigious private collections today.
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