24 cm x 42.5 cm (9 7/16 in. x 16 3/4 in.)
Henry F. Farny
(Ribeauville, France, 1847 - 1916, Cincinnati, Ohio)
North America, American
Medium and Support:
Gouache and watercolor, enhanced with gum arabic glaze on wove paper
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of C.R. Smith, 1970
Breaking Camp is one of fourteen works in the Blanton Museum’s C. R. Smith Collection by Henry Farny, a master of European-style realism who earned international recognition for his extensive body of work portraying American Indians. Whereas his contemporaries Frederic Remington and Charles Russell specialized in depicting the lives of cowboys in robust paintings and bronze sculptures, Farny made exquisitely detailed, relatively small-scale paintings on paper that describe Indian life in somewhat idealized terms. Using quick-drying paints, he captured subtle details of a lifestyle he considered rich in simplicity, nobility, and romance.
The American market responded eagerly, and he sold many works: his gracefully balanced compositions and harmonious portrayals of native events affirmed the public’s wishful belief that native life remained unblemished by the intrusions of white culture. Breaking Camp presents a typical scene of Indian life, one portrayed repeatedly by Farny over the years; this handsome version, evoking a change of season, is one of his earliest.