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MINOMINI INDIANS MAKING MAPLE SUGAR [manuscript title]
1882. Pen, ink, and wash drawing on paper, heightened with white gouache, signed in the image lower left corner "R. Cronau" and titled in lower right margin. Image size (including text): 18 1/4 x 26 1/4 inches. Sheet size: 20 5/8 x 27 1/2 inches. In excellent condition. Cronau here depicts a Native American maple sugaring party. The scene shows a small clearing in the woods where two large iron reducing pots are hung over fires that must supply enough heat to evaporate the excess water but not enough to burn the precious sugar. Men and women of the tribe collect the sap from the bins placed beneath the dripping shims placed in the horizontal cuts in the trees; the bins are emptied as they fill and birch- bark buckets used to transfer the sap to the pots. Wood to keep the fire burning is brought into camp on sledges. The process is continuous, so three temporary shelters have been erected. Those not involved in the sugar making tend cooking fires for meals and look after the children. Cronau brings a sympathetic and knowledgeable eye to bear, with authentic costumes and tools being used. The Menominee is a tribes of Native Americans native to, and still living in, Wisconsin. The name Menominee is actually a version of "manoominii" or "wild rice people": the name they were given by the Ojibwe. Rudolf Cronau is in many respects the artist who comes closest to inheriting Karl Bodmer's mantle. "Cronau was born in Solingen, Germany and studied at the Royal Academy in Dusseldorf under Andreas Muller and Andreas Achenbach. He went to work in Leipzig as both writer and illustrator for two popular newspapers. In 1881 the paper, DIE GARTENLAUBE, sent him on an extended journey through the Americas to report on natural wonders that the German public would find strange, exotic, and fascinating. He started with articles on New York, Baltimore and Washington, and then headed to Minneapolis where he began a journey down the Mississippi River to Cairo, Illinois. His next excursion brought Cronau to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in Dakota Territory where he met Sitting Bull and other Native leaders. After an extended stay in the northern plains, he continued on to Yellowstone Park, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and San Francisco. He returned to the East in the winter of 1881-82, exploring Florida and Louisiana. The following summer and fall Cronau made his second trip to the West, covering an enormous amount of territory, presumably by train, from Oregon to Texas. During this trip he created twelve articles for DIE GARTENLAUBE. Cronau was to have continued on to South America, but health problems forced his return to Germany late in 1882. Over the next few years he wrote and illustrated three travel books, FAHRTEN IM LANDE DER SIOUX, IM WILDEN WESTEN, and VON WUNDERLAND ZU WUNDERLAND. The latter contained fifty collotype reproductions of his drawings from across America. Most of Cronau's work is in pencil or ink, sometimes enhanced with watercolor.... All of his drawings are carefully detailed and finely rendered in a style that clearly shows the influence of his training in the German Romantic tradition at the Royal Academy. About 1894, Cronau returned to the United States as a foreign correspondent based in Washington, D.C. After a falling out with his employers, he worked as a free-lance writer in New York. Cronau became an American citizen in 1900. He continued to write magazine articles and books throughout the rest of his life" (Taos and Santa Fe Painters website). AMON CARTER MUSEUM OF WESTERN ART CATALOG OF THE COLLECTION (1972) D. Dawdy, ARTISTS OF THE AMERICAN WEST (1985). P.H. Hassrick, TREASURES OF THE OLD WEST (1984).
      [Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana]
Last Found On: 2016-09-25           Check availability:      Biblio    

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