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Wildling Museum Acquires Fery Painting


Along the western edge of Wyoming, in Yellowstone National Park, there is one of the most unique rivers in the world, the Firehole River. Only 25 miles long, it collects rain and snowmelt as well as runoff from the many hot springs, "mud pots" and geysers in the area including "Old Faithful" as it flows northward. As the river courses through the geyser basins it spills over a cascade, enters a rocky chasm and falls through a narrow gorge. This is the scene painted by John Fery in 1912.

The scene depicts one of the natural wonders of Yellowstone, our first National Park. In fact, the concept of a national park was developed near the area where this scene was painted. In 1880, the Hayden Expedition camping at the confluence of the Firehole and Madison rivers agreed that the area should be protected. Their recommendation was acted upon, and two years later Yellowstone became our first national park. (left: John Fery, Cascade on the Firehole, 1912, The Wilding Museum)

John Fery, (1859-1934), was born in Austria and studied art in Europe. He came to America as a young man and settled in Milwaukee, making many painting trips to the west where he became enchanted with the western mountains. In 1910, Fery met Louis Hill, President of the Great Northern Railway who was seeking an artist to paint the wilderness to encourage people to "See America First," to ride the railway and stay in his lodges and hotels. By 1915, Fery had painted hundreds of pictures for Great Northern.

Fery spent his life painting the American West, both on commission and for himself. He painted scenes of the Columbia River for the Oregon Journal, did a series in Utah, where there are major collections of his work, and painted in Idaho, California, and Canada. In 1925 he was again commissioned by Great Northern to paint in Glacier Park. Fery was truly an artist of the wilderness, only happy when he was in the mountains and painting outdoors.

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Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

For further biographical information please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 4/27/11

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