Joseph Henry SharpU.S. 1859-1953
Council Call of the Corws: Moonlight and Firelight 87.0001
Joseph Henry Sharp's main interest was in trying to respectfully capture the disappearing cultures of Native American tribes. He was one of the founding members of the Taos Society of Artists (that included Ernest Blumenschein, Oscar Berninghaus, and Irving Couse), settling in Taos in 1912. Deaf as a result of a childhood accident, Sharp combined the interests of an historian, an ethnologist, and an anthropologist, depending upon his technical skill as a draftsman to record his observations, and collecting artifacts and costumes used in daily life and in ceremonies for his paintings. He carefully studied ceremonies and learned the legends and folklore of the tribes that he visited. Sharp's nostalgia for the past is reflected in paintings such as Council Call of the Crows, in which he conveys a solemnity and quietness in the moonlight on the Crow Reservation in Montana. Sharp attended the Cincinnati Art Academy in 1874 as a student of Frank Duveneck and Henry Farny. He began travelling to the West in 1883 to record the disappearing Indian culture and made trips to Antwerp, Munich, and Paris to study painting. Although Sharp became a successful portrait painter, his interest in the West never diminished. In 1901 President Theodore Roosevelt sent him to the Custer Battlefield on the Crow Reservation in Montana to depict regional Indians. This painting resulted from his time spent there. The President had a studio and a house built for the artist a mile or two from the battlefield. Sharp used this studio until his eyesight began to fail in 1935. He painted more than 10,000 canvases over the course of his career.
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