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Design for "Custer's Last Stand"

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Whitney Western Art Museum

Makers
Paxson, Edgar Samuel 16
Descriptions
pencil 305 pen and ink on paper 31
Names
Drawing 735
Subjects
Group 440 Indian 729 military 54 Animal 735
Date:
1899-1900
Dimensions:
H: 13.417 in, width: 21.701 in
Title:
Design for "Custer's Last Stand"
Gloss:
This drawing shows the complex compositional pattern of Paxson's painting of Custer's Last Stand, located on the west wall of the Whitney Gallery. Because this artist built his painting from initial sketches of individual figures, the outline drawing continues to preserve that approach. This design is signed and dated 1900, although the painting was completed in 1899. Having completed his major work, the artist may have gone back to his sketches to add signatures and dates, putting a 1900 on this drawing to signify the last work of the series. The painting is accurate, according to its own publicity, but questions remain with the passing of time and entwining of myth. This drawing shows the complex compositional pattern of Paxton's painting of Custer's Last Stand, located on the west wall of the Whitney Gallery. Paxton presented the Battle of the Little Bighorn as a grand historical painting and chose one moment in the battle to summarize the military action of an involved campaign. Custer and his men are shown dismounted and holding their ground as mounted Indians attack. By emphasizing the "last stand," Paxton presents Custer as a tragic heroic figure. Because this artist built his painting from initial sketches of individual figures, the outline drawing continues to reserve that approach. This design is signed and dated 1900, although the painting was completed in 1899. Having completed his major work, the artist may have gone back to his sketches to add signatures and dates, putting a 1900 on this drawing to signify the last work of the series.
Inscription:
LR: E.S. Paxson/1900
Publication:
Book: Messages From Montana; Executive Editor, Janice W. Kennedy; M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust; Vancouver; 2004; page 25
Accession Number:
27.71.10

Not currently on display

Virtual Exhibits

Sketches and paintings by Edgar S. Paxson
Sketches and paintings by Edgar S. Paxson - Curated by Nancy McClure


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