Monday, February 17, 2020

Historic Paddle Art - View of Point Levy from Quebec - 1832

Here's another historic piece of Art by Canadian artist, Robert Auchmuty Sproule (1799 - 1845). Sproule apparently came to Lower Canada in 1826 and settled in Montreal. An accomplished water-colourist, he began painting scenes of his his new home. Over the years he began a fruitful relationship with publisher Adolphus Bourne and many of his works were featured in guidebooks. In 1832, Sproule travelled downstream to do similar vista paintings of Quebec City. The image below is taken from the traditional native encampment across the river at Point Levy, a popular spot for many 19th painters (click here to see some of the alternate views).

 View of Quebec from Point Levi-1832 
Robert A. Sproule

A closeup of Sproule's version features a paddle decorated with a red ZigZag motif down the blade...

This work by Sproule was also the basis for a lithograph done by William L. Walton (1830-1858) and now in the collection of the Toronto Public Library collection. It features crisper details but the paddle in this case is not decorated.

Quebec, Lower Canada, View of Quebec from Point Levy (Lauzon, Quebec)
Sproule, Robert Auchmuty, 1799-1845
Walton, William L. fl. 1830-1858, after
Picture, 1832, English
Provenance: Gift of J. Ross Robertson

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Shaw & Tenney Northwoods

A bit of an late update regarding the famed Northwoods style paddles carved by Maine Guide Alexandra Conover-Bennett. Alexandra has retired from paddle making and now Shaw & Tenney Paddle Co will continue the tradition of hand crafted Northwoods design to their line of commercial paddles. More info and photos can be seen in their blog post linked below:

Monday, February 3, 2020

Historic Paddle Art: Chief Shoppenegons 1910

Here's a historic piece of art dated to 1910 featuring a portrait of Chief David Shoppenegons from the Detroit Institute of Art. An Ojibwa leader from Michigan, the full length portrait showcases  Shoppenagons dressed in ceremonial ancestral garb while holding a short paddle apparently referencing his work as a guide along the Au Sable River.

Chief Shoppenegons, 1910
Eanger Irving Couse
Oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 78 × 36 inches (198.1 × 91.4 cm)
Credit Line Gift of Charles Willis Ward
Accession Number 11.4
Department American Art before 1950
On View Native American S130, Level 1

As a nice touch, this historic bit of artwork received a special visit by descendants of both the Chief and the artist, Eanger Irving Couse (1866-1936).

Leslie Peterson (l) and Candice Schreiber, with her two grandchildren, pose by the reproduction of the painting, “Chief Shoppenegons” by Eanger Irving Couse. Peterson is a descendant of Couse and Schreiber is a descendant of Shoppenegons.
Credit/Source Link:

In a similar vein, another heritage painting by Crouse depicting Shoppenegons was recently donated by members of the Saginaw Club to Saginaw Arts Museum.

Saginaw Club Painting
Image Credit/Source Link: Michigan Live News

This large oil painting has hung above the fireplace in the Saginaw Club since 1911. It is headed to the museum at 1126 N. Michigan Ave. to join the institution’s collection of Couse’s work, according to Saginaw Art Museum officials.

The source article cites more biographical info on the Chief as well as the provenance of the painting:

"Shoppenagon was born in Indianfields, a Chippewa Indian Village in the Saginaw River Valley. In 1795, his grandfather, also a Chippewa chief, was among the Indians who met with General Anthony Wayne at Fort Greenville, Ohio, and signed a treaty that ended 40 years of warfare in the Ohio Valley. Shoppenagon arrived in the Grayling area from the Saginaw Valley during the early 1870s. He trapped, hunted, and was a guide for sportsmen throughout the northern Lower Peninsula. 
The painting was originally commissioned by Saginaw Club member Charles Willis Ward and given to the club by Ward and Couse. Less than two weeks after the club accepted the painting, Shoppenagon passed away at the age of 104, according to a joint press release from the club and museum"

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