Cover Art Description:
Among the elements that tie this issue together are rivers, from
exploration on the Red River of the Southwest to steamboating on the
Missouri River of the northern High Plains to hydraulic development of the
Pacific Northwest’s mighty Columbia. Even in Douglas Steeples’s
examination of the Mojave Desert’s borax industry, beginning on page 28,
there is a river—the Mojave. Although its presence is muted, the Mojave,
like all rivers, contributes to a sense of place and serves as a reminder
of just how precious watercourses are in the West.
Rivers similarly provided focus for Henry F. Farny (1847–1916) and James Everett Stuart (1852–1941), whose artwork is featured on the front and back covers.
Born in France, Henry Farny came to the United States with his family when very young. He developed a lifelong interest in Indians from his boyhood experiences with the Senecas of western Pennsylvania and through a number of trips west later in life. Having studied in Europe and later working as an illustrator, Farny visited the Far West first in the early 1880s. Unlike contemporaries Charles M. Russell and Frederic Remington, Farny avoided sensational action to concentrate on the stability and harmony of intimate views, and unlike Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran, who reveled in sublime panoramas, he emphasized near viewpoints. Such are the components of Farny’s Days of Long Ago (1903, oil on board, 37 1/2" x 23 3/4"), reproduced on the front and back covers courtesy the Buffalo Bill Historical Center of Cody, Wyoming, in which an Indian family departs from camp.
Panorama is more in evidence in James Everett Stuart’s Indians on the Bank of the Columbia River with Mt. Hood (1884, oil on canvas, 24" x 36"), reproduced on the back cover courtesy the Marquard Collection, Bill Allen, photographer. Stuart, grandson of the famous painter Gilbert Stuart, was fond of the Columbia River landscape and was known for portraying the sunset glows and snowcapped peaks of the Pacific Northwest. Such elements comprise the aesthetic of the Columbia, which William L. Lang contrasts with the monumental efforts to put that river to practical use in an article beginning on page 44.
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