Jun

7

One has spent a most enjoyable hour looking at a fax pax of 50 pictures from the collection of the Buffalo Bill Historical Society. The visit leads to several observations. Charles Russell and NC Wyeth have to be just among the greatest american artists of the West. When you see one of their paintings you can feel the muscles, step into the action, and hear the sounds and smell the sage. It's so different from a Michener book or a Remington painting where you feel it's so contrived and derivative. It's like the difference between a writing by someone who trades versus a reporter. The painting Fight by William Gollings is very vivid but it lacks that Louis L'amour verisimilitude. It looks like everyone's out in the open and the dog is stylized and a man is grabbing a horse tail. When I was a racket competitor I lived by the idea never to give up until the last breath was gone. Fortunately I didn't use that last breath that often. I think it's true in trading. So often, one is taught to surrender. To give up when the going gets tough. To succomb because the bigs and their cronies might notice you and give you a "personalized." You have to admire Cliff Asness and the AIG executive who quit in protest as modern day Rose Wilder Lanes or Albert Jay Nocks. The code of the west I have visited before. but in reading it again, I see how important it is to have the proper equipment and not to take anyone else's equipment, and never to put on a position without being ready for what it is likely to happen at the tails, say, once or day or once a year. I like the idea "when you're approaching someone from behind, give a loud greeting before you get within shooting range." I wish that the people who had the next earnings releases or the next crony enhancing thing would follow that rule, and that the punishment of the code of the west could be visited upon them because they don't.

Scott Brooks follows up:

Wild Bill and Calamity Jane stories linked in history. Calamity Jane claiming that Wild Bill was the father of her child (whom she put up for adoption).

I have a slight personal tie to Calamity Jane. She was born in Princeton, MO where my farm is located. A sign adorns the road marking the spot where she was born. That sign is right next to my farm.

Every year, on the 3rd weekend of September, Princeton celebrates Calamity Jane days. It is a very "campy" weekend celebration with a parade and wild west show reinactment. Even though there's not much to do, the kids love.

The town folk are pretty realistic about who and what Calamity Jane was. When someone talks about Calamity Jane Days in Princeton, MO, the town folks, say (with big dollop of sarcasm), "We're the only small town in the world that celebrates the birth of a drunken whore!"

Here's a link to Calamity Jane Days in Princeton, MO .

Rudolf Hauser adds:

A good historical artist, that is one painting scenes of past events, has to be a bit of a good historian and be familiar with the terrain, clothing, etc. of the historical event he or she is painting. My own favorite is a more contemporary artist, namely Frank C. McCarthy. His paintings are full of a sense of motion. Take his painting "An Old-Time Mountain Man" as an example. It depicts a head-on view of a mountain man riding at a fast gallop, holding his reins and a long flintlock rifle cradled in his left hand and the reins of a string of his two pack horses in his right hand. The forward position of his foot in the stirrup, the backward flow of his beard, the look of determination in his face, the horses legs in clear rapid movement and the billowing dust clearly indicate a strong sense of motion, which tends to be a defining characteristic of most of his work. In his broader scope paintings, the background landscape is beautifully portrayed and the action scenes are very realistic and dramatic. He has been called the "Dean of Western Action Painters."

For someone interested in a depiction of contemporary cowboy life I suggest the work of Tim Cox. For those interested in the Civil War, I would recommend John Paul Strain and Mort Kunstler. Of the two, I prefer the work of Strain. Kunstler has also depicted the old west, but his paintings are not as dynamic of those of McCarthy or Russell. They are more like a snapshot than live action. For those interested in the earlier time of the Eastern Frontier in the Ohio Valley, etc. I recommend another contemporary artist, namely Robert Griffin.


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