James Earle Fraser's End of the Trail is one of the most iconic works featured in The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925. First modeled in 1894, the sculpture is based on Fraser's experiences growing up in Dakota Territory; as he wrote in his memoirs, "as a boy, I remembered an old Dakota trapper saying, 'The Indians will someday be pushed into the Pacific Ocean.'" The artist later said that, "the idea occurred to me of making an Indian which represented his race reaching the end of the trail, at the edge of the Pacific." In 1915, Fraser displayed amonumental plaster version of the work at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, earning popular acclaim and a gold medal.
Within a few months, thousands of prints and photographs of the statue were sold, and in 1918 Fraser began producing bronze reductions of the sculpture in two sizes. Today, an online image search for "End of the Trail" returns tens of thousands of results, as the work has been endlessly reproduced in paintings and in prints, on posters, T-shirts, pins, bags, belt buckles, and bookends. It was even featured on the cover of The Beach Boys 1971 album Surf's Up. Despite its appeal as a popular American icon, Fraser intended the work as a pointed commentary on the damaging effects of Euro-American settlement on American Indian nations confined on government reservations. Seated upon a windblown horse, Fraser's figure slumps over despondently, embodying the physical exhaustion and suffering of a people forcefully driven to the end of the trail.
Fraser's sculpture has been interpreted in various ways: while some critics regarded the Indian's decline as a necessary step in America's westward "march of progress," others have viewed the work as a remorseful indictment of "the national stupidity that has greedily and cruelly destroyed a race of people possessing imagination, integrity, fidelity and nobility," as an unnamed critic wrote in Touchstone in 1920. The sculpture continues to resonate with audiences in the twenty-first century, taking on new meanings and new forms in the digital age. I spoke with contemporary painter and sculptor Jeffrey Gibson about Fraser's End of the Trail, a work he describes as "having a very ambivalent relationship with over the years." Born in Colorado Springs, Jeffrey is half Cherokee and a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. His American Indian heritage together with his formal training as an artist—at both the Art Institute of Chicago and the Royal College of Art in London—have shaped his perspective on this work of art.
"September 5, 2015–February 21, 2016
Dallas collector Trevor Rees-Jones first became interested in art and the American West when visiting the Amon Carter Museum of American Art as a young boy.
Years later that experience led Rees-Jones to gather one of the finest private collections of art of the American West, spanning the eighteenth century through the 1920s, including paintings, watercolors, sculpture, and photographs. The selection of the Rees-Jones Collection on view marks its debut showing in a museum."
This object is part of "Scan The World". Scan the World is a non-profit initiative introduced by MyMiniFactory, through which we are creating a digital archive of fully 3D printable sculptures, artworks and landmarks from across the globe for the public to access for free. Scan the World is an open source, community effort, if you have interesting items around you and would like to contribute, email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can help.
Scanned : Photogrammetry (Processed using Agisoft PhotoScan)