#302. Humboldt Mountains Afternoon. 12.5 x 20, oil on canvas. Unsigned. "Fort Halleck - Aug 5 1881" lower right; the title & "127" reverse; a gallery stamp with "1892" reverse. This painting was uncovered in a private collection in Flushing NY about 2015. It had been in the family in the New York City area for several decades. The Humboldt Mountains are now named the Ruby Mountains. They are a north-south range located about 50 miles southeast of Elko NV. The view here is from the vicinity of historic Fork Halleck looking south-east at the north end of the range.
The painting is unsigned but Sotheby's and the author authenticate it as by Gilbert Munger. The new Transcontinental Railroad stopped at Elko starting in 1869. Munger passed through this area several times between 1869 and 1875, initially as part of the Clarence King led Geological Survey of the 40th Parallel, later on his own. His first known painting with "Humboldt Mountains" in the title appeared in February of 1870. The 1881 date on Humboldt Mountains Afternoon means that this painting was produced after Munger moved to London. During this period he made a living producing studio paintings of the American west. These paintings were based on sketches he had made in the field in the early 1870s and brought to England with him. This painting is a remarkable example of Munger's ability to recreate a scene accurately after many year. Image from the author's photo.
© Michael D. Schroeder 28 Oct 2018 Updated 24 Oct 2019 6567