Howard Terpning (born 1927) Steer Roping 24 x 20in overall: 38 1/4 x 32 3/8in (Painted in 1975)
Lot 150
Howard Terpning
(born 1927)
Steer Roping 24 x 20in overall: 38 1/4 x 32 3/8in
Sold for US$ 62,500 inc. premium

Lot Details
Howard Terpning (born 1927)
Steer Roping
signed and dated 'Terpning '75' (lower right), titled, inscribed and signed 'Terpning' (on the reverse)
oil on masonite
24 x 20in
overall: 38 1/4 x 32 3/8in
Painted in 1975

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Private collection, New Mexico.

    Considered by many to be the finest 'modern-day storyteller' of the American West, Howard Terpning began painting Western subjects around 1974. By then, Terpning was in his late 40s and his career was well-established—first as a civilian combat artist and then a commercial illustrator for such publications as Reader's Digest, Newsweek and Time, and movie posters such as Doctor Zhivago.1

    Seeking more artistic control over his work, he took the advice of his friend Don Crowley and started submitting paintings to galleries. His first foray with Troy's Cowboy Art Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona was a success—the three paintings that he sent to them sold promptly.2

    Bolstered by his new gallery representation and sales, Terpning fully transitioned into a fine art painter in 1976. At this time, he immersed himself in Native American history, particularly that of the Great Plains tribes. He is best-known today for his sensitive and historically-accurate depictions of Native Americans, preferring to show them 'in the quieter and more reflective moments of their daily lives.' 3

    Steer roping is a prime example of Terpning's early Western subjects, and highlights his fine draftsmanship and flair for narrative. Strong value contrasts, bold colors, and serpentine curves heighten the drama of the rodeo. The active brushwork in the foreground expresses the frenetic energy of the steer, which in turn amplifies the cool and composed nature of the cowboy about to capture his target.

    1 Elmer Kelton, The Art of Howard Terpning, New York: Bantam Books, 1992, p. 154.
    2 Ibid, p. 155.
    3 Ibid, p. 155.
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