Antique American oil on canvas A Child of Nature by Robert Atkinson Fox shows an Indian chief under an oak tree by a lake, circa 1910.
Dimensions: (Canvas) 29"H x 21"W (Frame) 35"H x 27"W
Child of Nature is a colorful work portraying an Indian with headdress studying nature with a clear backdrop of clouds, mountains and a lake. The foreground includes a stream at his feet, a strong tree at his back and spring grasses and flowers in the surround.
Robert Atkinson Fox was a Philadelphia artist who produced more than 1,000 works of art. From 1900 until his death, millions of the artist’s color photolithographic reproduction prints were consumed by the American middle-class. Although many of his prints bear the signature R. Atkinson Fox, many unsigned and untitled exist, due to the cropping of the print when framing it. Fox used at least 26 known pseudonyms, and perhaps as many as 18 more were used.
Fox was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1860, but immigrated to the United States somewhere between 1885 and 1890. A prolific painter, he worked as an artist both in Toronto and in the United States and worked for various publishers, including Brown and Bigelow of St. Paul, Minnesota, Edward Gross & Co. of New York, The Red Wing Advertising Company, and the Thomas D. Murphy Co. of Red Oak, Iowa among them.
Fox studied in Canada and Europe prior to arriving in America. He was the pupil of J W Bridgeman at the Ontario Society of Artists in Toronto. He exhibited at the Philadelphia Art Club in 1898. His work appeared as art prints, calendars, advertising pieces, magazine covers, children’s books, newspaper inserts, postcards, and numerous other forms.
Fox was a generalist. He could paint basically any assignment given to him by a publisher, he frequently painted from memory, aided by sketches, sometimes finishing a painting in a day’s time. Many of his original paintings were oil on canvas. His subjects included everything from landscapes, probably the most collectable today, to animals and pets. He was a leading painter of cows, but also painted horses, dogs, sheep, bears and foxes. His diverse subject matter also includes women, Indians and Indian maidens, the Wild West, historical and contemporary themes, hunting and fishing scenes, adventure, ships, and historic figures such as Washington, Lafayette, Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt.
Fox married Anna Gaffney in 1903. They lived in New Jersey until about 1924, when he moved his family to Chicago and continued his work until his death in 1935 at the age of 74. Five of his eight children still survive and many of his paintings are still in their hands, as well as in private collections.