William R. Leigh (1866-1955)
The Right of Way
oil on canvas
28 × 22 inches
signed lower left
Sold at Auction: $697,000
Condition ReportSurface condition excellent, several hairline cracks upper right corner and below the horse. Several specks of inpainting to left of cowboy’s hat.
Important Notice: Statements of condition are provided as a service to potential bidders; such statements are educated opinions and should not be regarded as facts. The Coeur d’Alene Art Auction has no responsibility for any errors or omissions.
In William Robinson Leigh Western Artist, D. Duane Cummins wrote, “Leigh’s expeditions to western America were very demanding and filled with difficulties typical to all western artists who sought to view their material firsthand. Their food was provided by nature, and Leigh wrote in his ‘Wyoming Diary’ how tiresome weeks of trout, sage hen, and squirrel could become. In neither Wyoming nor the Southwest could he sketch on an overcast day, because the coloration was distorted. Also, if the oil sketches were not well-protected, a sudden downpour could ruin weeks of work. Indians were often uncooperative subjects, refusing to model for either photograph or sketch, because they had been warned by tribal leaders that doing so would result in the loss of part of their souls. Insects were a constant bother. ‘After a day of sketching,’ complained Leigh, ‘my palette was thickly strewn with dead, dying, or famished insects; I ignored them. After work it took me an hour, with the point of a penknife blade, to pick the dead mosquitoes off my studies.’ Learning to survive in the wilderness was a matter of course for the western artist.”