Category Archives: Southwest

  • TITLE: Near Kingman
  • SIZE: 16″ X 20″
  • MEDIUM: Oil on Board
  • SIGNED: Lower Right

Montezuma’s Castle

Charles Garfield Tracy was married to Rhea Lucille Snow (1896-1976) from April 10, 1918 in Farmington, Utah, until his death, September 11, 1955 in Arcadia, California. When they married she was a resident of Utah, having lived to age five in a Ladder Day Saint’s family commune at Beehive House.  It had been built in 1854 near the Salt Lake City Mormon Temple to accommodate LDS founder, President and polygamist, Brigham Young and his wives and children. Rhea lived there the first five years of her life because it was the official home of her father, Lorenzo Snow (1814-1901), the Fourth LDS President since Young’s death in 1877. Rhea’s mother was Sara Minnie Jensen Snow (1855-1908), and she and Lorenzo had nine children. Rhea became the youngest and last surviving of Lorenzo Snow’s six wives and 42 children.

In adulthood Rhea became an actress in vaudeville and motion pictures, wrote scenarios and radio plays, taught drama, authored several books and many poems and later as a widow and resident of Utah, served in California on behalf of the Indian Affairs Committee. She is buried in Brigham City Cemetery in Brigham City, Utah.

In 1919, Charles and Rhea Tracy had a daughter, Mauvia Snow, born in Salt Lake City, who became a highly respected health professional in the San Francisco area and also remained a member of the LDS Church. A second daughter, Norlyn Snow, was born to Charles and Rhea in 1922 in Manhattan Beach, California. This daughter became a noted public speaker for the LDS Church, and in her obituary it was written: “Her father was Charles Garfield Tracy, a motion picture director, experienced vaudeville actor and renowned artist.” This description would suggest that Charles and Rhea Snow Tracy met when both were active in theatre.

“Rhea Lucille Snow Tracy”, Find A Grave Memorial, # 14400255,

“Beehive House”, Wikipedia,

“Mauvia Snow”, Find A Grave Memorial, # 91098070,

Norlyn Snow Tracy Torres
Published in the Deseret News on May 6, 2011.

“Lorenzo Snow”, Wikipedia,



    • TITLE: Man with Beard
    • SIZE: 35.5″ X 29.75″
    • MEDIUM: Oil on Canvas

Born in Pennsgrove, New Jersey and raised in Chicago by German immigrant parents, Ernest Hennings became a highly recognized painter of western subjects, particularly of Indians of New Mexico where he joined The Taos Society of Artists. Of his painting, it was written: “He was most successful in unifying the human figure with a sunshine-filled, happy, natural setting.” (Zellman 808). The last project of the artist before his death in 1956, was a series of paintings at the Navajo Reservation in Ganado for a Santa Fe Railroad calendar.

When he was young, his family moved to Chicago, and for five years, he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago from which he graduated with honors.  After working six years as a commercial artist, he enrolled in 1912 at the Munich Academy in Germany where he learned to paint in the style of academic realism. Walter Thor, a portrait artist, was one of his highly influential teachers, and he emphasized the need of the artist to enter the soul of their subjects.  Hennings also studied with Franz von Stuck, a proponent of classical theories of beauty, patterning, craftsmanship and drafting.

At that time pre-war Munich was one of the most exciting cultural centers in Europe, and the battles between classical academy art and “Jugendstil,” a German Art Nouveau movement were in full swing.  Hennings remained somewhat open to the latter theories, thinking it best to be open to a variety of influences and then settling on one’s own style.  In Munich, he also became friends with artists Walter Ufer and Victor Higgins.

In 1915, at the beginning of World War I, he returned to Chicago as a commercial artist and muralist who tended to paint with thick, broad brush strokes and darkened palette of the Munich School.  But he also reflected the waving, sinuous lines of “Jugendstil” painters.

In 1917, Carter Harrison, a wealthy patron and former Mayor of Chicago, and Oscar Mayer, Harrison’s partner in an art-buying ventures, sponsored Hennings on a trip to Taos, New Mexico, a life-changing venture for Hennings.  Three years earlier Harrison had done the same for several other artists including Ufer and Higgins.  In 1921, Hennings became a full time resident of Taos, having had a successful one-man exhibition in Chicago at Marshall Field and Company. At that event, Hennings met his future wife, Helen Otte, and upon marrying the coupled traveled in Europe for sixteen months.

In 1924, Hennings joined his friends Ufer and Higgins as a member of The Taos Society of Artists, whose purpose was to generate sales of their art work.  Ufer and Higgins had been members for several years.

For the remainder of his career, Hennings was devoted to painting the West including commissioned portraits of Navajo Indians for the Santa Fe Railroad.  However, his primary subjects were the New Mexico Indians, which he portrayed as dignified heroic people.  His technique was to paint the background first and then put figures in various positions to determine which was the most successful composition. He worked on several canvasses at once and disavowed modernist avant-garde movements.  The bright colors of his paintings have remained intact because he applied his oil paints thinly and allowed long periods of drying before applying varnish.  This method has prevented yellowing and cracking.

Few of his paintings are dated.  His wife, Helen Otte Hennings, kept a meticulous record, but when she moved from Taos to Chicago in 1979, it was lost, and no copy has ever been found.

Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art
Dean Porter, Taos Artists and Their Patrons
Robert R. White, New Mexico scholar and writer about Taos artists, Information sent to AskART
Docent Files, Phoenix Art Museum



  • TITLE: The Cowboy’s Horse
  • SIZE: 17.5″ X 24″
  • MEDIUM: Oil on Canvas
  • SIGNED: Lower Right

Bill Gollings (Elling William) did paintings known for their accurate accountings of the Old West. Gollings drew upon his own personal experiences as a cowboy, and was also known to have studied and admired the drawings of Frederic Remington, which often appeared in ‘Harper’s Weekly’ magazine.

Bill Gollings was born in 1878 in Pierce City, Idaho. As a boy, he spent much of his time was in New York, Idaho and Michigan. When he was twelve, he and his family moved to Chicago. At age nineteen, Gollings traveled to small mining and cattle towns in South Dakota and Nebraska where he spent most of his time as a sheepherder and cowboy. Despite his ranching activities, he had always possessed an interest in art.

His first exposure to paints was at about age twenty-five when he began working with a set of mail-order paints. After selling several paintings, he was admitted to the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts on a scholarship. Returning to Wyoming, he spent time on a Cheyenne reservation as a cowboy once again. Gollings maintained his interest in art and became proficient in etching under the guidance of Wyoming artist Hans Kleiber.

In 1909, Gollings built a studio in Sheridan, Wyoming, giving up ranch life. He did, however, continue to supplement his income by punching cattle and breaking horses. In Sheridan he devoted himself to his painting of western scenes, using “Gollings” and a pony-track symbol to sign his works.

“Bill Gollings” died at age 54 in Sheridan, Wyoming in 1932.

Sources include:
Peggy and Harold Samuels, “An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West”
Michael David Zellman, “300 Years of American Art”



  • TITLE: Tree with Sunset on Snow
  • SIZE: 12″ X 15.5″
  • MEDIUM: Oil on Board
  • SIGNED: Lower Left

Born on a farm near Augusta, Maine, W. Herbert Dunton became a leading American illustrator and renowned painter in the early art colony of Taos, New Mexico.  His specialty was painting the untamed West before it disappeared.

Especially helpful to his career was the patronage of Texans Nelda and H.J. Lutcher Stark whose collection founded the Stark Museum in Orange, Texas.  They bought hundreds of Dunton’s paintings during the Depression because his renderings of animals and landscape greatly appealed to Texans, and their Dunton paintings became the largest collection in America by that artist.

When he was a youngster, Dunton spent much time roaming the woods and fields around Augusta with a gun and sketch-book, and by the time he was sixteen, he was selling drawings and stories of outdoor life to local newspapers and to the Boston Sunday Globe.

Dunton’s family encouraged his obvious art talent by giving him materials and freeing his time from farm chores.  At age eighteen, he went to Montana for a lengthy period and sketched big game, and from that time, frequently returned West, often working as a ranch hand.  He also went to Oregon and Old Mexico where he worked on cattle ranches and collected frontier artifacts.

He studied art in Boston at Cowles School and in New York at the Art Students League, and his teacher and fellow Salmagundi Club member Ernest Blumenschein invited him to Taos, New Mexico.  In 1912, he opened a summer studio in Taos and settled there in 1921.

Meanwhile he had become one of America’s top-ranking illustrators, with a specialty of lively western outdoor scenes, often showing dramatic episodes such as galloping cowboys to avoid a cloudburst.  Some of his best-known illustrations were of Zane Grey novels, but from the time of his move to New Mexico, he accepted few illustration commissions.

In New Mexico, he became one of the founders of the Taos Society of Artists, whose purpose was promoting sales of the local painters.  Unlike many of his Taos peers, he focused on subjects other than Indians and landscape and often portrayed cowboys, animals and the vanishing frontiersman.  One of these subjects was Frank Riley, a sheriff of Pima county, Arizona, whom he painted in 1913.

Sources include:
David Hunt, “W.H. Dunton: Old West Revisited”, American Art Review, 6/2003

Richard Hunter and David Hunt, “Stark Museum of Art”, American Art Review, 12, 2001

Michael Grauer, “The Remington of the Southwest”, Persimmon Hill, Spring 1997



  • TITLE: Painting in Desert
  • SIZE: 16.5″ X 12″
  • MEDIUM: Oil on Board
  • SIGNED: Lower Left

Gerald Cassidy, known for his subjects of the Southwest including Indian portraits and for his lithography, was born in Covington, KY., and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He studied at the Mechanic Institute in Cincinnati and with Frank Duveneck at the Cincinnati Art Academy.  He worked as an Art Director at a lithography firm in New York City and during this time, studied briefly at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League.

Diagnosed with tuberculosis at age 20, Cassidy went to a sanitarium in New Mexico, a move that introduced him to life in the West.  He first earned his living by painting portraits of Indians and scenes of the Southwest that were intended to be reproduced on postcards.  When his health got better, he moved to Denver. and there established his reputation as a lithographer by doing work that was used for magazine illustrations, murals, and ads.

In 1912, he married the sculptor and writer Ina Sizer Davis, who became a noted author of numerous articles on New Mexico art colonies.  The couple settled in Santa Fe where Cassidy began a project to document the culture of Pueblo Indians.  The commission to do this work came from Edgar L Hewitt, Director of the School of American Archaeology.  Hewitt regarded the life of the Indians as the counterpoint to the materialism of white civilization.  Cassidy became so committed to this project that he decorated his home with altar paintings from the ruined Nambe mission church.

In Santa Fe, he was only the third artist of English origin to establish residency there.  During this time, he changed his signature from Gerald Ira Diamond Cassidy to Gerald Cassidy, placing the Tewa Indian sun symbol (symbol of circle with four lines) between his first and last name. He also painted many landscapes and large historic murals for commercial buildings including the Indian Arts Building.

A highlight of his career occurred in 1915 when he was awarded the Grand Prize and Gold Medal for his murals in the Indian Arts Building, at the Panama-California International Exposition, San Diego, California.

Nineteen years later, in 1934, Cassidy met an untimely death from lead poisoning while working on a mural for the Federal Building in Santa Fe.

His work is represented in national and international museums including the Freer Collection, Washington, D. C., Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM, San Diego Museum, San Diego, CA, City Art Museum, Baroda, Bombay, India, City Art Museum, Berlin, Germany, and The Luxembourg, Paris.

Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art
Peter Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art
Edan Hughes, Artists in California 1786-1940