169 At the Crossing

Winning Bid Undisclosed
This item SOLD at 2015 Apr 11 @ 13:52UTC-7 : PDT/MST
Category Western Americana
Auction Currency USD
Start Price NA
Estimated at 35,000.00 - 50,000.00 USD
At the Crossing
Artist: McCarthy, FrankDate of Birth: 1924-2002
Medium: Oil on board
Dimensions: 24 x 36 inches
Signed: Signed lower right/CA and dated 1977

Frank McCarthy began his career in art working elbow to elbow with many famous illustrators. They painted and brawled together in the 50Õs and 60Õs, living the Bohemian life in what was called ÒThe Bullpen,Ó a building in Midtown Manhattan that was, in reality, a hive of artists who lived from assignment to assignment as the ÒMad MenÓ of the day dreamed up campaigns for pulp novels, cigarettes, lingerie and Oldsmobiles. McCarthy illustrated books and magazine stories and did posters for HollywoodÑJames Bond films in particular. In 1974, McCarthy shed his journeyman artist role and moved to Arizona, where he set up his easel and created some of the finest action scenes that ever leapt out of the Old West. Fordable places on the rivers that weave through the mountainsÑlike the one in At The CrossingÑwere natural pinch points and sites of potential conflict in the Mountain Man Era of the West. Ambushes at these crossings were not at all uncommon. In this work, the two riders at right lead the pack mules and extra horses to the other side of the river andÑperhapsÑsafety, while a third, riding a mule, urges his mount forward. The flanking rider at left has already turned and taken a shot (he will now need to reload) so the lead rider, central in the painting, peels off and prepares to shoulder his rifle. As in the most complex McCarthys, several kinds of motion are at work: the straight line angling from the Indians in the distance at left to the rider at far right; the rider taking a shot at left, perpendicular to the line; and the rider who dominates the scene wheeling in opposition to the diagonal. This turning, against the natural impulse to flee, turning to face oneÕs foeÑfearÑis the mark of the hero.