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Classic Covers: Native Americans

With a lineup of artists such as Fredric Remington, N.C. Wyeth, W.H.D. Koerner and, of course, our beloved J.C. Leyendecker, our history of Western art is second to none. We’re proud to show the art of the Native American.

Indian Fishing – N.C. Wyeth

Indian Fishing by N.C. Wyeth

Indian Fishing
N.C. Wyeth
July 18, 1908

A Post cover by N.C. Wyeth from 1908 is eloquent in its solitary contentment. There is something uplifting about the young Native American in this peaceful, yet all-important pastime. Wyeth’s (1822-1945) first commission as an illustrator, we’re proud to say, was of a bucking bronco for a Post cover of February 1903. Wyeth’s cover art for the Post and sister publication, Country Gentleman magazine, ran the gamut from cowboys to rugged lumberjacks to a colorful Santa Claus.

Indian Chief on Horseback – Charles Hargens

Indian Chief on Horseback by Charles Hargens

Indian Chief on Horseback
Charles Hargens
August 22, 1936

Rich with color, the “Indian Chief on Horseback” that appeared on the August 22, 1936 cover was by an artist named Charles Hargens. This is such a stately example of the Native American, I was surprised to find that Hargens’ covers also ran the gamut: from a skiing scene in 1939 to a rather comic small-town sheriff running from snowballs in 1921.

Indians on Horseback – Paul Strayer

Indians on Horseback by Paul Strayer

Indians on Horseback
Paul Stayer
The Country Gentleman
November 1, 1929

An equally stunning example is “Indians on Horseback” from a 1929 Country Gentlemen. It’s a great example of action, from the flying hair to the dust under the horses’ hooves. I was sorry to find that this is the only artwork we can claim by Paul Strayer, but it is a beauty.

Indian on Horseback – Frederic Remington

Indian on Horseback by Federic Remington

Indian on Horseback
Frederic Remington
December 14, 1901

In 1901 the technique for cover color was as yet rather unsophisticated, but this example of an Indian on horseback was by renowned Western artist Frederic Remington. Remington (1861-1909) reminds me of Teddy Roosevelt. Like Teddy, he was born in New York, but lived for the rugged Western life, and was the kind of man who hunted grizzlies. This is our only Frederic Remington cover.

Indian Guide – Remington Schuyler

Indian Guide by Remington Schuyler

Indian Guide
Remington Schuyler
February 25, 1922

Remington was the first name of artist Remington Schuyler, and a 1922 cover called “Indian Guide” is, we assume, meant to be ironic. The Native American in full headdress consulting a map of “Indian Trails”? Ironic or not, this beautifully attired Indian is a treat.

Indian Sunset – J.C. Leyendecker

Indian Sunset by J.C. Leyendecker

Indian Sunset
J.C. Leyendecker
March 17, 1923

There is something about the sun setting in the West. We couldn’t decide on which of these two sunsets to show, so we’re doing both. “Indian Sunset” by J.C. Leyendecker is from 1923 and an unusual example of Leyendecker’s over 300 Saturday Evening Post covers.

Painted Pony – W.H.D. Koerner

Painted Pony by W.H.D. Koerner

Painted PonyW.H.D. Koerner
Octoer 24, 1931

The beautiful “Painted Pony” by W.H.D. Koerner is from 1931. Koerner (1878-1938) was known as the “America Artist of the West,” and understandably so. He did five Saturday Evening Post covers. Like Wyeth, he studied under Howard Pyle.

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  • Diana Denny

    Thank you for your question. First of all, we don’t have an art expert on staff, so to determine if it is a Koerner, you probably need to locate a gallery/museum in your area where there is some one who knows art. Secondly, what makes you think it was an illustration for the Post? Is there something written on the back that references the Post, or a story title? If so, I’d be glad to look it up. Short of having a title, I don’t know how to go about seeing if it was an illustration for this magazine. Most of these illustrators did work for other periodicals, books, ads, etc.
    Diana Denny, Archives

  • I rediscovered what I think is a Post illustration by W.H.D. Koerner.
    A wild west artist lies in the grass engrossed in his work in the afternoon sun. We see him with brush poised, looking at his pallette. Above him across the sky is his vision of a band of Native Americans in warpaint on horseback, at full gallop riding directly at us. In the paint box we see what looks like a miniature of that scene. Beyond the artist his horse grazes contentedly unaware of the event unfolding in the sky.
    I found a clipping in my Cub Scout scrapbook. I can’t be sure of the signature, but it looks like Koerner’s. I’m wondering if this is one of his, and what became of the painting if so.
    I’m a landscape artist now, and this work must have inspired me enough to save it.

  • Bill Jones

    looking for a western art illustrater that worked for Saturday Evening Post named Schenk.

  • Sharon H.

    While my son-in-law was renovating their attic; they came across a container of Saturday Evening Post magazines. The magazines still had the subscribers name and address on them; they were from 1901- 1905.

  • Dennis C. Wofford

    Thank you for the native american cover pictures. I recently found a sign advertiseing The country Gentleman Thanks to you I now know it is Indians on Horseback by Paul Strayer. Until I saw your pictures I didn’t know the name of the painting.

  • Frances O'Brien

    Thank you for the great Native American cover pictures !