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Frederick Ferdinand Schafer Painting Catalog

Painting record FFSd0117

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[photo] [Indian scene, Northwest]
Photo credit: William K. Dick, 1971
Date: said to be 1878 (but see notes 1 and 2)
Medium: oil on canvas
Size: 10 x 18 in (25 x 46 cm)
Inscription: said to be signed l/r "F. Schafer", each letter in a different color (not visible in photograph)
Verso: said to be no inscription
Provenance: Acquired for $75 for the collection of Patrick E. McCarthy (1846–1920), San Francisco, by 1900. Offered for $750 in 1970 by Alta California Bookstore, Berkeley, California. Offered by Howell's Bookstore, San Francisco, in 1971.
Exhibited: The McCarthy Collection, 1870–1900, San Francisco, 1962
Reproductions: William K. Dick photo #94 (color, 1971)
Citations: Dawdy, Doris Ostrander, Artists of the American West; Inventory of American Paintings… record 71063555; William K. Dick notes, page 72; 1962 exhibition catalog, #29; A typed inventory of the McCarthy collection. A handwritten inventory of the McCarthy collection.
Description: An Indian on horseback stands at the edge of a lake conversing with two figures in a canoe, one standing, one sitting. A gnarled tree stands at the right edge, the trunk of a dead tree lies on a rock in the foreground center, and a patch of bright green grass stands to the left of the lake. In the background, a hill stands in the center, with indistinct ranges beyond; there is a plume of smoke from an unseen campfire on the left bank of the lake. The hills are all covered with forest; the sky is a bright hazy whitish blue with some clouds. (From a color photograph.)
Note: (1) The two inventories from McCarthy's personal records include this painting. In the handwritten inventory entry #35 reads "Name, Fred Schaffer; Size, 10-18; Date, 1878; Title, Indian Territory; Amount, $75." The meaning of "date" is not given and it is not clear whether it is the year the painting was made or the year the painting was acquired. In the typewritten inventory titled "P. E. McCARTHY - CATALOGUE of paintings" is the unnumbered entry "Fred Schaffer - 10-18 - 1878 - Indian Scene Northwest Kansas". (2) The catalog of the McCarthy Collection exhibition (which also spells the artist's name "Schaffer") gives the date of the painting as 1875, and the title as "Indian Summer, Northwest", as does the Inventory of American Paintings listing, which seems to be based on that catalog. The date in the exhibition listing does not agree with that in the inventories; it may be either a correction or a typographical error. Similarly, the title in the exhibition listing is derived, but slightly different from the two inventory listings, which differ from each other. (3)The Society of California Pioneers reported the painting to the Inventory of American Paintings in 1975, but searches by the SCP in July 1991 and December 2018 found no evidence that it was ever in the SCP collection.
Identification: Several different titles appear to have been assigned by McCarthy during the time the painting was in his possession. Dawdy cites the Inventory of American Paintings entry, which identifies the informant as the Society of California Pioneers. A note on the back of the photo by William K. Dick identifies it with the exhibition at the Society of California Pioneers, the McCarthy collection, and both the Alta California and Howell's offerings.
Other title(s): Indian Summer, Northwest (from the 1962 exhibition catalog and Inventory of American Paintings… record); Indian Territory (from the handwritten inventory); Indian Scene, North West Kansas (from the typed inventory)
In index(es): Title list, unidentified mountain scenes

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Mar 10, 2024, 11:47 MDT Accessibility