Jeanie Schlump rare triptych available now at Art Agents International
Acrylic Triptych by Jeanie Schlump
Jeanie Schlumpeach painting is 48" by 48" Total length is 157W" and 52"H
- Offers now being accepted -
These paintings are meant to be hung together as a triptych.
You must think of these panels as the westward expansion across our land.
Please read these from right to left as the pioneers would have crossed our area.
right panel 1
center panel 2
left panel 3
Right Hand Panel (1)
In the first panel on the right, there is the land and the buffalo. The Indians never "owned" the land and it was a concept very foreign & not understood by them. How could anyone own the land? The land is forever and will always be... The buffalo are prevalent in this panel. Before the white man, there were about 25 million buffalo across the entire continent. The herds were decimated as westward expansion moved across our territories. Eventually there were only about 1100 animals left in small pockets of 6-10 beasts. The animals were shot for sport, sometimes only the tongues were taken, hides were stripped and the meat was left to rot. The Indians had always respected the animals; taking only what they could use and making use of virtually every component of the buffalo's body.
The solidly painted buffalo represent the initial herds; the transparent buffalo are literally disappearing as the railroad crosses their habitat. The legend of the Great Storm Bird tells of this creature blocking the sun as he flies overhead and the beating of his wings against the sky forms our prevailing winds and the stormy weather that often accompanies them.
The Wyoming flag incorporates the Great White Buffalo. The flag is traversing from the first onto the second panel. Wyoming became a state in 1890, hence that date as depicted on the middle painting. The red on the flag was intended to represent the blood shed and the heroism of the early pioneers. The dark blue symbolizes the mountains and the sky.
At the peak of the buffalo herds it is estimated that there were possibly a dozen albino buffalo. The Indians did not originally have horses and killing a buffalo was quite a challenge. Often the animals were driven off buffalo jumps to their death or driven into drifted snow until the fatigued animal could be speared, shot with a bow and arrow, or stabbed with a knife. It was believed that a hunter who had the skill to kill a white buffalo was a very powerful person and was held in high esteem for his prowess and skill. The Wyoming flag is suggesting that strength and also the purity of the original Pioneers. Our flag has a state seal in the center of the buffalo (to act as a brand) but I opted to leave this out. The idea of the brand sickened me.
Center Panel (2)
In the center panel, the predominant figure is a cowboy on a bucking horse. Wyoming has a symbol of (Steamboat) an unrideable rodeo horse on our license plates. The horse symbolizes a wild & unbreakable spirit. If you look carefully, the rider is on a saddle of about 1890. The back is high so the cowboy cannot be easily dislodged from the horse; he might even be able to nap without fear of falling. The chaps protected the cowboy from the tall brush, cacti, and weather. The leather fringe was torn off the chaps or the saddle as needed to use as "twisty ties" for anything that needed fastening. The hat protected from the sun, snow and rain; the scarf protected the cowboys face and throat from dust and weather.
I opted to paint this cowboy in a checkered shirt; symbolizing what was often a very "checkered" past, as well as symbolizing the parceling out of the land into territories, states, sections, blocks, lots, etc. At the cowboys belly there are a few subtle buildings painted at his waistline. Soon that rough form of life would give way to a more "civilized" culture complete with houses, schools, and churches. The Indians way of life was getting disrupted so that they were losing their language, their religion, their history, their children.
In the distant background behind the cowboy you see mountains...a natural barrier and trees. The trees were cut down for the railroads, buck fences (see in front of the mountains) were placed as man-made barriers, and the slabs are becoming a vertical division symbolizing the parceling off of the wilderness.
Beneath the cowboy are many vertical brush strokes symbolizing grass. In 1857, Chief Red Cloud was quoted as saying "Initially the white men were like blades of grass in the Spring, a few scattered randomly about; but eventually the white men became like the blades of grass in Summer...literally too many to count. Whereas the Indian became like the snowdrifts; prevalent in Winter and eventually receding back into the crevices of the Earth until there were no more.
I have placed the states of Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah traversing the 2nd and 3rd panels. Colorado is at the base in green, Wyoming in red-orange, and Utah just to the left of Wyoming as you would see these on a current map.
Left Panel (3)
The 3rd panel (to be hung on the left) has been purposely painted in a disrupted and confused state of composition. There is a merging of the Indian nations and the United States. Hence, the introduction of the US flag (stars & stripes) and the images of the Ghost Dance. The Tetons are depicted in a very light threshold at the rear of this painting symbolizing nature and the land that Indians once knew...wild, untamed, pure. A cattle drive is shown. Cattle were to replace the buffalo and soon many of those trails became our modern day highways. The modern highways overlapping the trails are symbolized by the white hash marks; as seen on today's divided highways.
The tepees became the houses of the Plains Indians at the height of their civilization. The introduction of the horse by the Spanish enabled the transport of these tepees, which consisted of approximately 12-16 buffalo hides. Prior to that small shelters were made of willows and hides and the pack animals of the day were women and dogs. Only the men were able to decorate items figuratively. Women were allowed to paint only geometric or abstract patterns.
The Indian tribes realized that if they were to defeat the White Man they would have to band together. The symbols screening the Tetons at the upper left of the 3rd panel are taken from a shirt worn during the Ghost Dance. The Kingfisher birds were known for their speed and and ability to strike their prey swiftly and silently. The tortoise, although slow, was able to protect himself against enemies with his self-defensive mechanisms. And the stars represent the celestial bodies and the opportunity to draw from the the Spirits of the Indians' forefathers for guidance and strength in battle. The US government soon outlawed the ritual of the Ghost Dances, fearing that the Indians would become too great a threat if enabled to continue.
The spike bull elk, the buffalo and the horses demonstrate the essentials necessary to the American Indian. When preparing for battle, the horses' manes and tails would be knotted & braided. This would be followed by a painting ceremony. The horses in this area of the tripytch show these stages.
In Laramie, Wyoming there is a structure, the Centennial Complex, that houses the American Heritage Center and the UW Art Museum. Designed by Antoine Predock, it resembles a tepee. The building was supposed to be completed for the 1990 Wyoming state centennial, but was not finished until 1993. I have painted this within the group of tepees.
And lastly, I have painted a small reference to The End of the Trail, a sculpture made by James Earle Fraser in 1894. He believed that the Indians had been mistreated by the White Man and made this sculpture a compassionate reference of their defeat.
Jeanie Schlump teaches painting, drawing, and sculpture at Laramie County Community College, Albany County. She has maintained a studio in Laramie, Wyoming since she gained her MFA from the University of Wyoming in 1990. Her inspiration is found in the open Western skies and plains of Wyoming, which she interprets both realistically and in colourful abstractions.
The artist won the highest award in sculpture from the Wyoming State Historical Society for carving 19 replacement architectural stones on the Methodist Church in state capital Cheyenne. She has received four purchase awards from the State of Wyoming and has a 14 foot montage painting on permanent display at the City Hall in Laramie. She has sold her paintings all over the world, as far as Korea, Australia, and England.
Medium: Pastel; acrylic; sculpture