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Signed and titled

Describing this painting the artist wrote, “Among the Plains Indians, the storyteller played a key role in his tribe or band. Inasmuch as they had no written language, it was the storyteller’s task to keep the history of his people alive by repeating history and legends so that younger members could memorize the tales. In turn, the next generation would produce its own spellbinding orators. They spoke of the origins of the tribe, religious mythology, noteworthy brave and masterful deeds, and the evil ways of their enemies. Storytellers especially appealed to the very young. In this painting there’s a little buckskin medicine bag hung by a thong from the neck of the Indian elder telling the story. The girl on his left and the man seated on his right both wear garments of calico cloth, a trade item. There’s a lot of warm, soft orange umber in the loosely painted background which I hoped would create a fantasy feeling, in contrast to the rather detailed items in the foreground—a fringed buckskin bag and a rawhide box. Enhancing the flesh tones is a subtle green light that suggests the surrounding forests.”

The Artist
Private Collection, PA, 1988

Howard Terpning: Tribute to the Plains People, Autry National Center, Los Angeles, CA, May 12 - July 1, 2012

Don Dedera, Howard Terpning: The Storyteller (Trumbull, CT: The Greenwich Workshop, Inc., 1989), frontispiece, illustrated halftone, pages 8-9, illustrated
Elmer Kelton, The Art of Howard Terpning (Trumbull, CT: The Greenwich Workshop, Inc., 1992), pages 30-31, illustrated
Harley Brown, Howard Terpning: Tribute to the Plains People (Seymour, CT: The Greenwich Workshop, Inc., 2012), pages 148-149, illustrated

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