"Unknown Explorers" Bronze Sculpture by Roy Harris, Limited Ed. 41/500

Presented is a bronze sculpture entitled Unknown Explorers by 20th century American artist Roy Harris. The bronze depicts two explorers, mounted on horses, riding up a rocky trail. The explorer in the back leads an unmounted pack horse behind him. Captured fully in the round, this bronze captures the intrepid spirit of early explorers of the Southwest. Harris’ sculpture is based on the 1908 oil-on-canvas painting of the same title by renowned Western artist Frederic Remington. 

Frederic Remington (1861-1909) achieved considerable success as America’s leading illustrator of life on the western frontier. His career took off in the mid-1880s when he began making western illustrations for Harper's Weekly and many other widely read New York magazines. Accompanying both factual news reports and colorful fictional tales, Remington's pictures delighted and informed an East Coast populace hungry for information of the new frontier. Remington produced over 3,000 signed works. Most of them were illustrations, but as he grew older, he turned away from the publishing world and accomplished masterful paintings and drawings. 

In the 1900s, Remington became more concerned with his recognition as a painter and less with his image as an illustrator. Even though most of his later works were illustrations, they were “conceived and executed as paintings rather than as pictorial adjuncts to stories” (Hasrick). In 1903, he signed an exclusive contract with Collier’s that allowed him to paint twelve pictures a year, of whatever subjects he chose. Each painting was replicated as a full-color illustration in Colliers. “For these canvases, he frequently harkened back to his love of the Southwest”(Hasrick).  Paintings from that time include The Unknown Explorers, The Santa Fe Trade, and Trailing Texas Cattle, and are evidence of Remington’s thematic devotion to the Southwest region and its history. 

Roy Harris is a late 20th century American sculptor. After growing up in northern Idaho, Harris served as a horse trooper in the Korean War, earned a B.S. in animal science at Utah State Agriculture College, and worked as a cow boss on a ranch in eastern Arizona. In 1954, Roy joined the faculty of California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. A doctorate in animal genetics and physiology was completed in 1970 at Utah State. 

Harris' lifelong interest in Western life grew into a remarkable skill for beautiful and realistic sculptures. Working mostly in bronze, his work shows his passion for precision and realistic proportions. His sculptures are inspired by the grandeur of the old West, yet grounded in their natural and true to life compositions. 

During his tenure as a professor, Dr. Harris was commissioned to create a life-size bronze sculpture of a mustang for Cal Poly, which is displayed on campus to this day. In 1984, he was commissioned by Idaho's Sun Valley Resort to sculpt two life-size figures of skiers. He was also commissioned by the Prince of Spain for a sculpture of his champion Arabian mare, Abha Hamir. Roy's bronzes were part of the Professional Rodeo Association 1980 display at the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma. His sculptures are in the personal collections of former presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, as well as many private collections. 

CONDITION:

Very good condition overall. Bronze sculpture with brown patina. Signed in cast, Edition 41/500. Mounted on a marble base. Brass plaque on marble base. One nail on plaque loose. Dimensions (with base): 19"H x 24"W x 11"D. 




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