Yellowstone Art Museum

Billings, MT



The Works of Joseph Henry Sharp


The works of western artist, Joseph Henry Sharp, (1859-1953) are being showcased in the Snook Gallery. The paintings are gifts from Virginia Snook, as well as long-term loans from Parmly Billings Library and the Billings Area Chamber of Commerce. (left: Spring Landscape, 1905, oil on canvas, Yellowstone Art Museum, Gift of Ms. Virginia Snook)

For the first forty years of his life, Sharp was a student and a teacher of art in Europe and the eastern United States. He made his first trip to southeastern Montana in 1899. A year later, President Theodore Roosevelt had his Indian commissioners build Sharp a studio and a cabin at Crow Agency, near the Little Bighorn Battlefield. Over the next several years, Sharp spent his time between Crow Agency and Taos, New Mexico, where he helped to found the Taos Society of Artists.

Joseph Henry Sharp's paintings are a kind of storytelling, a keenly perceptive visual folklore of the land and its people. Carolyn Riebeth, a life-long friend once observed, "He loved to recall every detail of his life at Crow, and one suspected that those days had been the happiest in his adult life." His portraits of Northern Plains and Southwest Pueblo Indians, and his landscapes of both the country around Taos and throughout eastern Montana and northern Wyoming, combine the simplicity of subtle colors and strong flat planes. His paintings are an extraordinary record left to us by a painter who brought the most careful attention to the lives of the people he painted, as well as a deep intimacy with the subtle light, dynamic forms, and presence of the land. (left: Glacier Peak, n.d., oil on canvas, Yellowstone Art Museum, Gift of Ms. Virginia Snook; right: Untitled, n.d., oil on canvas, Yellowstone Art Museum, Gift of Ms. Virginia Snook)

For those who call Montana their home, and for those who seek to know her better, the works of Joseph Henry Sharp are a legacy not to be missed. The exhibition, sponsored by the Charles M. Bair Family Trust, runs through September 24, 2000 at the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings. (left: Untitled, 1906, oil on canvas, Yellowstone Art Museum, Gift of Ms. Virginia Snook)


Read more about the Yellowstone Art Museum in Resource Library Magazine

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

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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 3/18/11

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