Chance and Gus Forging Spurs (7326)

Carl Corey2016

Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery
Washington, D.C., United States

This is a portrait of Chance and his son, Gus, in the process of making spurs for Gus to wear when riding his pony. The composition is reminiscent of nineteenth-century American genre painting, which captures the character of the American West through romanticized and lighthearted depictions of individuals going about their daily lives. Yet there is nothing nostalgic or humorous about this scene. Instead, it emphasizes the everyday realities of generations of hardworking ranchers in the Western Dakotas.

Carl Corey has been documenting the American cultural landscape for decades. This portrait is from his series Ranchers in the Western Dakotas. Corey writes of the portrait subjects: “I believe these folks to be among the last of the true American Ranchers.”


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