Tuesday, March 27, 2012

STORYTELLER OF THE NATIVE AMERICAN




Howard Terpning with his work
"The Sound of a Distant Bugle"
Autry Museum in Los Angeles, 2010
From latimes.com


Quite simply, Howard Terpning is one of the most lauded painters of Western art. His awards are so numerous and he is honored with them so often, that to list them would require changing the count every few months. To name three would be to cite the highest prizes awarded to Western art: countless awards from the Cowboy Artists of America, the Hubbard Art Award for Excellence, the National Academy of Western Art’s Prix de West and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Autry National Center.
Why such praise? Passion, compassion, devotion and respect for his subject matter, extraordinary talent in palette and brushstroke, an exceptional ability to evoke emotion both in his paintings and from those viewing them — all this and more has made Terpning the "Storyteller of the Native American." Terpning is an Emeritus member of the Cowboy Artists of America, active for 22 years, during which time he was presented with a total of 41 awards. His book, The Art of Howard Terpning won the Wrangler "Outstanding Art Book" award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.
(From greenwichworkshop.com)
Howard Terpning was born November 5, 1927 in Oak Park, Illinois. His mother was an interior decorator, and his father worked for the railroad. He grew up in the Midwest living in Iowa, Missouri and Texas as well as Illinois. As a boy he liked to draw and knew by the age of seven that he wanted to be an artist. At age 15, he became fascinated with the West and Native Americans when he spent the summer camping and fishing with a cousin near Durango, Colorado. When he turned 17, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and served from 1945 through 1946. He was stationed in China for nine months. After leaving the Marines he enrolled at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts in their two-year commercial art program using the G.I. Bill to pay his tuition. To further his study he attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago for six months where he honed his life drawing and painting skills.
After art school a family friend introduced Terpning to Haddon Sundblom, a successful and highly regarded illustrator of that time. Based on the recommendation and the strength of Terpning's drawings Sundblom hired Terpning to work at his Chicago studio as an apprentice for $35 per week. Initially, Terpning ran errands, cut mats, built crates and cleaned brushes. After about a year and a half he began to work on his own commissions. In 1955, he moved to a Milwaukee studio where he stayed for three years before relocating to New York where he was hired by a major Chicago studio. By 1962, he was working as a freelance artist using an agent to facilitate the business side of his craft. As a result Terpning was able to work from his home studio eliminating the long commute into NYC. During his 25 years as an illustrator he created magazine covers, story illustrations and advertising art for publications such as Reader's Digest, Time, Newsweek, Good Housekeeping, Field & Stream, McCall's, Redbook, and Ladies' Home Journal.
(WIKIPEDIA)


55 days at Peking, 1963
From thesandpebbles.com


The Sand Pebbles, 1967
From thesandpebbles.com


The Sand Pebbles, 1967
From thesandpebbles.com


The original water damaged poster
1967 NYC subway poster
From thesandpebbles.com


In addition to illustrating for magazines Terpning completed over 80 movie posters starting with The Guns of Navarone in 1961. Other examples include Cleopatra, Doctor Zhivago, The Sound of Music, The Sand Pebbles, and the 1967 re-release of Gone with the Wind.
(WIKIPEDIA)


Marines South of Hoi An South Vietnam
From heritagestudio.com


In 1967 in the midst of his commercial art career Terpning left his home in Connecticut and headed to Vietnam as a civilian combat artist. He was invited by the Marine Corps to document the war by living with the Marines for one month. After two weeks of training he wound up in Da Nang, South Vietnam with camera and sketch pad going out on patrols with combat troops. Of the experience Terpning stated he was "profoundly changed" by the experience. Upon his return home he created six paintings which are now at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
(WIKIPEDIA)


Spirit of the plains people
From s60.radikal.ru


Around 1974, Terpning began to tire of commercial work and decided to follow his interest in the American West and Plains Indians. Consequently, he began to transition into fine art by creating paintings and selling them in Western galleries. The first paintings sold for $2,000 to $2,500. After three years, he left Connecticut and the commercial art world and moved to Arizona to devote himself entirely to painting the American West. Within two years he was elected to both the National Academy of Western Art and the Cowboy Artists of America (CA). In the 22 years he was an active member of the CAA, Terpning earned 42 awards for his work. In 1985, Terpning was honored with a retrospective at the Gilcrease Museum with 38 original works on display. His work has also been displayed in Peking, China, and the Grand Palais in Paris
(WIKIPEDIA)


Broken Trail
From greenwichworkshop.com


“These two Northern Plains warriors are following a trail that was probably a game trail originally,” Terpning relates about the painting (above). “Since they are using a pack horse, they are no doubt traveling a considerable distance. Snow melt or heavy rains could sometimes produce such a volume of water that it wiped away everything in its path. This landscape has been changed by the destructive forces of the water and what used to be a natural bridge of sorts has been completely washed away, so that these men must seek another route to reach their destination.”
(greenwichworkshop.com)


Among the Spirits of the Long Ago People
From artcountrycanada.com


Among the Spirits of the Long-Ago People (above) is a magnificent work. Terpning begins with a simple common premise; the grandeur of nature can be sacred. He relates that emotion not by creating a landscape painting, but by focusing on the reverence these men have for what they see. The petroglyphs show that this is an ancient understanding. These men knew it to be so in their time, just as we do today. Their silence, as they take in the wonder about them, is not unlike that of the collectors we saw view this work for the first time.
(artcountrycanada.com)
Petroglyphs on rock formations indicate that the visitors are in a spiritual place,” describes Howard Terpning, “a place blessed by the long-ago people. Numerous locations like this exist throughout Montana and Wyoming, always high on a mountain, close to the Great Spirit, with a spectacular view of Mother Earth. For centuries, Indian people have made the difficult journey to these sacred places to give thanks for their blessings and to pray for success in hunting and in battle. Unveiled at the Masters of the American West, it won the 2011 Thomas Moran Memorial Award for Painting and sold for $900,100.
(bnr-art.com)


Forces of Nature Humbles all Men
From artcountrycanada.com


With mother Earth
From artcountrycanada.com


On Edge of the World
From firstpeople.us


Where Spirits Dwell
From artcountrycanada.com


To the Native American, a spiritual force was the source of all life and everything in nature had a soul, or a spirit, independent of its physical being. Their entire world was connected spiritually, with the physical and the mystical living side by side. This spirituality was the fundamental nature of the Plains Indian and the expanse of the West and the grandeur of its landscape only enforced this notion. “It is important to show the American Indian as he appears in his natural surroundings,” says Howard Terpning. “He lives with Mother Earth and his spirituality is bound to his environment. Many of my paintings are inspired by something in nature. The thing I look for in a landscape is how it can be dramatized to the best advantage in the painting.” Many of Terpning’s most revered paintings focus on the wonder, admiration and respect the Native Americans held for the land in which they lived. "The Force of Nature Humbles All Men," "With Mother Earth" and "On the Edge of the World" all explore the introspective power nature has over man. "Where Spirits Dwell" takes that idea one step further by presenting, in scale, the majestic scope of the land in relationship to man.
(artcountrycanada.com)
"That Terpning is a realist is plain enough, since his work is primarily representational, not formal. But it is not a realism of minute detail for its own sake, without regard to the context of light and of the subject's character. Nor is it the sort of pop realism that places subjects in happenstance circumstances like tourists with a snapshot camera. Terpning's realism takes for granted the representational nature of art and takes it from there. Although his paintings actually read as bold declarations, Terpning's choice of palette is typically restrained in order to ensure that narrative is the first impression imparted upon a viewer." - the late Fred A. Myers, director of 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.”
(WIKIPEDIA)



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