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Verso:
Titled and “Gros Ventre Wit and Philosophy”

According to Joseph H. Sharp historian Forrest Fenn, “Another interesting model was Bill Jones, a Gros Ventre scout and former Custer warrior. According to Sharp, he had been given his name by the soldiers at old Fort Belnap. His face and hair were ‘painted with earth color,’ and he proudly wore a coat tastefully made from an old army blanket. Hanging from his neck were his knife and beaded medicine bag. In his youth his specialty had been raiding enemy camps and stealing horses. Now he hung around the agency, charging ‘two bits’ a snapshot from the occasional tourist. Sharp painted the old scout several times.

“On one occasion, Bill Jones came into the studio, and seeing his portrait on the wall, asked for five dollars. When Sharp asked why he wanted five dollars, the old Indian scout replied that he could not sleep, and it was Sharp’s fault. Sharp asked why he could not sleep, and the Indian pointed to the portrait and replied: ‘You painted me with my eyes open. How do you expect me to sleep with my eyes open?’”

PROVENANCE:
The Artist
Private Collection, 1913, gifted to
The Butler Institute of American Art
Private Collection, Arizona, 2007

LITERATURE:
Sixty Years of Collecting American Art: An Index to the Permanent Collection (Youngstown, OH: The Butler Institute of American Art, 1979), page 33
I. S. Sweetkind, ed., The Butler Institute of American Art Index to the Permanent Collection (Youngstown, OH: The Butler Institute of American Art, 1997), page 155
Forrest Fenn, The Beat of the Drum and the Whoop of the Dance (Santa Fe, NM: Fenn Publishing Co., 1983), page 175, illustrated
Forrest Fenn, Teepee Smoke (Santa Fe, NM: One Horse Land & Cattle Co., 2007), page 173, illustrated

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