LOT 124

1815 - 1872
Canadian

An Indian Hunter
oil on canvas
signed and on verso titled, dated 1865 and certified by William Watson, Watson Art Galleries
10 7/8 x 9 in 27.6 x 22.9 cm

Estimate: $15,000 - $25,000

Preview at: Heffel Montreal

PROVENANCE
Collection of Captain William Dobie, Quebec
By descent to a Private Collection, England
Watson Art Galleries, Montreal
Private Collection, Montreal

LITERATURE
Dennis Reid, Krieghoff: Images of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, 1999, a very similar 1858 canvas entitled Indian Trapper on Snowshoes reproduced page 175, and a very similar 1866 canvas entitled The Indian Hunter reproduced page 184, both in the Thomson Collection, Art Gallery of Ontario


An Indian Hunter is an exemplary painting by Cornelius Krieghoff and a truly favoured subject of both the artist and his devout patrons. The interaction between settler culture and the Indigenous people was a theme that Krieghoff explored frequently in his work.

Our painting is dated 1865 by the great Montreal art dealer William Watson. The compelling history of this work is outlined in the following interesting and rare inscription on verso by Watson:

This is one of a pair of excellent small pictures by Krieghoff from 1865. It was taken to Europe at about that time by Captain William Dobie, one of the officers of the Quebec garrison. It was recently purchased by our agents in London from a direct descendant of Captain Dobie. It depicts an Indian hunter on typical native snow-shoes. It will be for safety on passing through the woods. The painting had been kept under glass for over fifty years and is in exceptionally good condition. It is signed in full C. Krieghoff.

The garrison men of Montreal and the surrounding area were typically well-born, educated and wealthy. Their love of music and art and their wide-ranging sporting recreation were the leisure pursuits of the colonial establishment. For these men, who eventually returned to Britain and Europe, fine works of art like An Indian Hunter became souvenirs of their travels.

Krieghoff's paintings of this subject vary in their details, and here they are particularly fine. The male hunter here is shown full-length and in mid stride, in profile to the left, with a rifle slung over his shoulder, following some animal tracks in the snow. He is wearing a red tam with a plume of feathers and a Hudson Bay blanket coat characteristic of the Indigenous people of Lorette and Caughnawaga who hunted in the Laurentians. His romanticized landscape environment, with its low hills, scrub evergreens, and a colourful and expansive sky with cloud effects breaking into blue sky exemplifies Krieghoff’s sublime mastery of atmosphere. Blue and mauve tints in the snow make the viewer feel the bite of cold in the winter scene.

Two similar and iconic paintings of the solitary Indigenous hunter reside in the Thomson Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario.


Estimate: $15,000 - $25,000

All prices are in Canadian Dollars


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