| || |
A Solitary Indian, Seated on the Edge of a Bold Precipice
Oil painting on canvas
35 in x 25 1/2 in (88.9 cm x 64.8 cm) (image)
Autry Museum of the American West
Painting by Charles Deas, A Solitary Indian, Seated on the Edge of a Bold Precipice, 1847. Signed. In 1841, Charles Deas moved from New York City to St. Louis, then a remote border town, where he established himself as a painter of Western life. Although he knew mountain men and Native people firsthand, he tended to focus on their appeal as “types,” or frontier characters, distinguished by their exotic appearance and surroundings. The figure in A Solitary Indian, Seated on the Edge of a Bold Precipice represents not a specific individual but a metaphor for what Deas—like many of his countrymen at mid-century—saw as the impending fate of Native America. Notice that one moccasin has slipped off into the chasm below. The implication is that the rest of him will soon follow.