Carl Ahrens painting of plains Indian Camp with tepees - For Sale

Carl Ahrens painting of plains Indian Camp with tepees
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"Indian Camp" by Carl Henry von Ahrens (Canadian/American, 1862-1939), oil on artist board, circa 1900-1910, 17.25" x 12.5". A painting of a Native American camp on the plains beneath a starry night sky. Two tepees glow in the foreground from the campfires within, silhouetting the figures inside. The pole framework of a third tepee can just be discerned in the distance. Condition is excellent. The painting is signed lower left and retains a label from Kensington Fine Art Gallery Ltd., Calgary, Alberta. Carl Ahrens was a singular individual whose independent and adventuresome spirit characterized the settling of the American West. Born in Winfield, Ontario in 1862, his parents died while he was still young, forcing him into the workplace at an early age. He tried his hand at a variety of professions, including law and dentistry, before he finally began painting at the age of twenty-four. He soon moved to Toronto to begin his formal art training, where he opened a studio on Adelaide St. and held his first exhibition with the Ontario Society of Artists in 1889. To further his education, Carl traveled to New York City, studying with William Merritt Chase and becoming friends with George Inness. Inness suggested that he dispense from further formal training and let his own creativity guide his future. Carl returned to Canada, and in 1896 befriended, and was eventually adopted by, members of the Ojibwa reservation in Southampton, Ontario. The Ojibwa gave him the Indian name 'Ah-sa-ba-nang', which translates as "Cluster of Stars." Carl also had a brief association in 1899 with Elbert Hubbard and the Roycroft Community, where he designed art pottery and even relocated his family to East Aurora, NY. However, in 1900, Carl had a disagreement with Hubbard and accepted another commission that involved traveling to California to paint Spanish missions there. Carl eventually gained some financial stability when he found a patron, Colonel Malcolm Smith Mercer of Toronto, who agreed to purchase all of Carl's paintings during the years immediately preceding WWI. The patronage, however, was short lived as Mercer was killed in action. Carl wasn't content to remain in any one location and, in the 1920s, spent time in Woodstock, NY and Rockport, MA. Poor health, however, forced Carl back to Canada, where he purchased a farm house, 'Big Trees', in the community of Galt, Ontario. Here he spent most of his later years and was visited by fellow artists and students alike. He has been called 'The Painter of Trees.' However, his health continued to fail, and he suffered from a tubercular hip, an ailment stemming from his childhood. His last exhibition was in 1933, and the final years of his life were spent in excruciating pain, which resulted in his becoming addicted to codeine. During his last months, he was confined to a psychiatric hospital. He died in 1936. During his life, Carl Ahrens painted in both watercolor and oil, executed portraits and landscapes, illustrated for commercial magazines, and even tried his hand at printmaking. For him, nothing was too great a challenge. (The above biographical material was adapted from a biographical account by Carl Ahrens' great granddaughter, Kim Bullock, who maintains an entire web site devoted to the paintings by her great grandfather at

Art (paintings, prints, frames)
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Antiques Collaborative, Inc.
6931 Woodstock Rd., Rte. 4 at Waterman Place
P.O. Box 565
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Phone : 802-296-5858

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