Watercolor Painting : 'Joseph Brant: The Savage War Chief of the Cherry Valley Massacre' [caption title]

Watercolor Painting : 'Joseph Brant: The Savage War Chief of...
Watercolor Painting : 'Joseph Brant: The Savage War Chief of...
Watercolor Painting : 'Joseph Brant: The Savage War Chief of...

[American. Watercolor on paper. Image, including manuscript caption, approximately 9 1/2 x 5 inches on a 10 1/4 x 6 3/4 - inch sheet. In a modern metal frame, approximately 17 1/2 x 13 inches, with archivally correct matting. Some evidence of early paste on the verso showing through, some rippling, else very good. The painting shows Mohawk War Chief Jospeh Brant in war paint and a headdress of two red feathers, his right hand raising a tomahawk. Joseph Brant (Indian name Thayendanegea, 1743-1807) was a major Mohawk military and political leader during the American Revolutionary War and Federal Period. Born in present-day Northeast Ohio, he fought for the British forces during the French and Indian War and was subsequently educated at Moor's Charity School, where Eleazar Wheelock wrote with admiration of his intellect and temperament. At the outbreak of the American Revolution, Brant traveled to England, where he met numerous dignitaries, was inducted into the Falcon Lodge of freemasons, and received audience with George III, to whom he pledged his continued loyalty. Returning to America, he led Mohawk warriors and colonial Loyalist soldiers against the Americans, often fighting alongside the Seneca and British. The present painting expresses the greatest of several historical ironies surrounding Brant's life, depicting him as the 'Monster Brant' of the 1778 Cherry Valley Massacre, during which 30 noncombatants were reportedly killed. While a fierce and effective warrior, Brant was, in fact, renowned among both British and American officers for his honor in battle and 'great humanity' toward enemy civilians and prisoners. At Cherry Valley, Brant and his forces tried desperately to prevent a raging group of Seneca warriors who had detached themselves from British command from slaughtering white noncombatants. All military reports of the battle agreed on this point, and his restraint was evident throughout his campaigns in the Mohawk Valley. Nevertheless, his reputation as 'savage' perpetrator of the atrocities at Cherry Valley persisted, particularly in stories that would circulate through the region well after the war. While Brant was the subject of portraits by several major American artists, including Gilbert Stuart, Ezra Ames, and Charles Willson Peale, this painting does not appear to be rendered after a famous original and is likely drawn from imagination - possibly a child's. While the piece may be late 18th-century, the paper on which it is painted suggests a somewhat later date, most likely 1810-1830. Very Good.

Item #z07283

Price: $1,250.00