Portrait of James P. Beckwourth
Oil paint on canvas. Bust portrait of James Beckwourth wearing a brown jacket with black collar, red vest with collar, red buttons, tan shirt, black bolo tie. His head is in a 3/4 view, his face turned slightly to the right. He has a full head of black curly hair, middle of ear length, a black goatee and a black mustache. The background is tan and the frame is simple, made of unfinished wood.
This painting was done by C.Waldo Love, staff artit for SHS (now History Colorado) in the 1930s as part of the WPA/New Deal Program.
Beckwourth was a mulatto born in St. Louis in about 1800 (date is uncertain). He went west as a boy and eventually became a fur trapper for the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. Later as a free trapper in Wyoming he became friends with the Crow Indians joining and living with them. He married a Mexican girl from Taos. He was a trapper and guide and friend of Kit Carson. In 1859 he moved to Denver and became a store keeper but returned to the mountains serving as a scout for several years. He died in 1866 in a Crow village near Big Horn River. He is the only African-American mountain man to record his life, although the account has been judged as somewhat exaggerated. Titled, The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth, published in 1856., Charles Waldo Love was born in Washington D.C. His early art training was in Denver with Henry Reed at the Reed Art School He won a scholarship to the Art Students League in New York City. He studied in Paris, worked in New York as a commercial artist, and returned to Denver where in 1937 he began a twenty-year career at the Denver Museum of Natural History. There he created habitat backgrounds, many of them atmospheric, colorful dioramas. He did a number of historical portraits for the Colorado State Historical Society of Colorado figures for the WPA. He traveled and painted widely in the West and Southwest, and his work is in the Santa Fe Railroad Collection. During retirement he worked on special projects for the Museum painting thirty-three panoramas in the habitat section. Ask/ARTs Biographical Sketches.
painted in the front lower left: C. W. Love 1930(? could be 1936)