Riding Through Isleta

Currency:USD Category:Art Start Price:NA Estimated At:200,000.00 - 400,000.00 USD
Riding Through Isleta
Riding Through Isleta
Artist: Ufer, WalterDate of Birth: 1876-1936
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 25 1/4 x 30 1/4 inches
Signed: Signed lower right and inscribed "Isleta"

Born in Germany, Walter Ufer emigrated to Kentucky as a boy. His father, a master engraver and gunsmith, apprenticed young Walter to a lithography firm. With his parents’ support, Ufer traveled to Europe and completed his studies in Dresden. While there, Ufer became friends with Joseph Sharp and Ernest Blumenschein, two crucial colleagues in Ufer’s career. When he returned to the States, Ufer settled in Chicago, where Mayor Carter Harrison became the artist’s first patron. Though Ufer, an avowed socialist, bristled at Harrison’s patronage, it was Harrison who sent Ufer to Taos, where he met up again with Sharp and Blumenschein and found his subject—the Indians of the New Mexico Pueblos. Ufer also took Harrison’s advice and devoted himself to painting the Indian “as he is,” without the overtones of romanticism that characterized Native American depiction. Ufer was eagerly accepted into the Taos Society of Artists. His legacy of socially significant paintings, combining strong composition, elegant impasto work and vibrant light and color make him one of the most striking figures in early 20th century American art.
Founded in the 14th century, the Pueblo of Isleta—Shiewhibak in the Isletan Tiwa language was under siege in the 1920’s, losing land to speculators. In Riding Through Isleta, diagonals in the road and clouds lead the viewer’s eye to a single point, one of the French Gothic spires that sit atop the original 18th century adobe walls of the San Agustin de la Isleta Mission. These spires were added in 1923 under the direction of Belgian priest Father Anton Docher, who was known for his interest in and spirited defense of native rights. But Ufer would have been ambivalent about these Western spires sitting atop the adobe of a Pueblo Mission, seeing them as yet another concession to modernity.
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