The Post Blazes a Trail
In the early part of the 20th century, The Saturday Evening Post commissioned numerous illustrations that collectively helped define the American West for the rest of the country. One of the best known of these artists is N.C. Wyeth, appreciated for his wonderful sense of color and light as well as for being an authority on Western culture.
A full generation of Americans owe their impression of the soulful, spiritual Native American to artists like Remington Schuyler and W.H.D. Koerner. Interestingly both artists lived, studied, and worked in the east, developing a fascination with Western culture and lore from afar, before making Western art a primary focus.
As a young man, artist Frank Hoffman settled on a working ranch in Taos, New Mexico, using his own horses and other animals as models for his paintings.
John Clymer painted more than 80 covers for the Post, many of them with Western themes. He’s known for his painstaking research and for the rich historic and geographic detail of his work.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.