This is a block print on an unusual paper, the subject a mounted Native American banging his drum while on a white horse, signed in the block by the important "dean of Arizona artists", LON MEGARGEE (1883-1960). The striking image might be after a painting by the artist, who, the story goes, was passed one day in the desert by a warrior in a dreamy trance-like reverie state, working his drum in this manner, barely noticing the white man watching him pass. Megargee was born in Philadelphia to wealth. He was always a restless and adventurous soul, leaving home at an exceptionally young age to see the west. He returned briefly east for art training at the Pennsylvania Academy, Art Students League and Pratt, then returned again to the west. By 1909 he was in Los Angeles and his mature style was beginning to emerge. In 1912 he drew the attention of the governor of Arizona, who asked him to create mural paintings for the state house. These paintings remain today. Over subsequent years, he became gradually better known as a cowboy painter and illustrator of all things western; he also worked in advertising. The famed image of the horse drinking out of the Stetson hat, "...The Last Drop" is by Megargee. The artist traveled restlessly around the country for years, and even overseas, but it was to Arizona to which he always returned. Today his oil paintings bring into five figures at major auctions of western American art. This print is in compromised condition. The heavy wrinkling of the paper is possibly just the nature of the paper itself. There is foxing (also within the image), tape residue stains, and at lower left corner margin there is a chunk of paper missing. The print could be cleaned or failing that, a tight mat job would hide most of the more noticeable flaws, which are generally in the margin areas. A detailed biography of Megargee is available online, illustrating the interesting life he led. Measurements are 15 1/4" by 14 1/4" (20 1/2" by 16 1/2" in the present simple black frame).
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