Elling William (Bill) Gollings (American, 1878-1932)
Squaw/Landscape with Native American on Horseback
Signed "Gollings..." l.l., titled and inscribed "...M.H." on the reverse.
Oil on canvas, 7 x 10 in. (17.8 x 25.4 cm), framed.
Condition: Surface grime, minor craquelure, pigment fluorescence.
Provenance: Private collection, New Mexico.
N.B. By Golling's account, his most vivid childhood memories recalled ranch life, either on his grandmother's farm near St. Johns, Michigan, or his father's homestead in Lewiston, Idaho. (1) Though his interest in drawing Western subjects had been sparked as a child by his older brother Oliver, he did not attempt it until junior high when he began to follow the work of Frederick Remington. (2) At the age of eighteen, along with a friend who also had the "western fever," Gollings boarded a railcar from Chicago to the Great Plains state of South Dakota under an assumed name and misuse of a "drover's pass" (which allowed livestock caretakers to a free return fare). (3) Gollings and his friend traveled through South Dakota and Nebraska where they worked seasonal jobs as ranch hands, and eventually Gollings settled on his own in Montana, near the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation. (4)
Gollings began painting in 1903 when he acquired some oil paints through the Montgomery Ward & Company catalogue. (5) Golling's brother DeWitt acted as his promoter, first pitching his works locally and then in Chicago. After some successful sales and favorable press, on the encouragement of his brother, Gollings attended The Chicago Academy of Fine Arts (now the School of the Art Institute of Chicago). After his schooling, Gollings returned to Sheridan, Wyoming, where he continued to work as a cowhand, painting intermittently. By 1909, Gollings devoted himself to art in earnest, building a studio, marketing his own works, and attending art exhibits. (6)
1) Scherger, R.H. (Bob). "Paint Bill: Elling W. Gollings, Working Cowboy and Unsung Artist, Finally Emerges From Some Self-Imposed Shadows." Montana: The Magazine of Western History. Volume 15, No. 2, (Spring 1965). Montana Historical Society. Pg. 72-75.
2) Ibid., 76.
4) Ibid., 71, 79.
6) Ibid., 81-84.
The painting might benefit from a gentle cleaning. The craquelure is fine and stable.