Hello! Here’s an original Charles Samuel La Monk (1910- 1990) April 1978 oil on canvas portrait of a Native American / Indian subject. The person I purchased it from mentioned that Mr. LaMonk painted at a church across the street from where she and her husband lived at the time, and gave this work to them. It is also personally signed on the back.
The frame measures 28” X 24”, the canvas itself is 16” X 20”, and the inside diameter of the framed work measures 15-1/2” X 19-1/4”. There is a small spot on the right-hand side of the painting, which may be a removable stain, or part of the original art. This is the only issue I can see with it. There are 10 photos included so one can make an accurate evaluation before purchasing. NOTE: In the third photo, there are dark blue tones in the hair of the subject.
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SHORT BIOGRAPHY OF THE ARTIST:
No Matter what line of work a person purses, success depends greatly on the enthusiasm and dedication or drive of the individual. Artist Charles La Monk, of Palmdale, California, is a worthy example of these qualities. He has two channels for his dedication. First, the recording and preserving of Indian rock writings (petroglyphs and pictographs), and secondly, the portraiture of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico.
La Monks's renderings of rock writings involve on-site study and most well-preserved petroglyphs are very inaccessible, requiring considerable hiking. Using eroded sand and rock, he applies it over a white lead base building a realistic facsimile of a chosen petroglyph. The pictographs are painted on a simple base, using a frayed deer-hide on a one half inch wide stick some four inches long. By Experimentation he found this ideal to produce the strokes and dots of the ancient rock artists.
Little wonder that with his great interest in Indian art he was drawn to the primitive tribe of Tarahumara that inhabit an almost inaccessible area. His love for the Tarahumara people has led him on many, many trips to the fortress-like barrancas of Mexico. I asked him why he chose this obscure tribe to preserve on canvas, and his answer gives an insight to the kind of man he is.
“If I can show in my paintings of these American Indians a bit of the background of their lives, by the expression in their eyes, their gestures, or capture that haunting, emotional quality so often seen in them, then my efforts are not in vain. Fortunately, the majority of Tarahumara tribesmen have retained their Indian identity. They are closely linked with the ancient past and possess those wonderful facial qualities that moves and inspires the portrait painter”.
“Long ago as a boy living on a ranch in western Wyoming, I saw on occasion small bands of mounted Indians traveling through the mountains or plains. They were picturesque, graceful in the saddle, so in harmony with the environment. What a thrill for this boy longed to ride with them. Those days are gone. A few artists and writers witnessed it, recorded what they saw and made a valuable contribution to Western Americana. The Tarahumaras’ stone age life style will change now that their land has been declared a Mexican National Park. An influx of tourists from all over the world are entering the area. I shall document them as I see them, not polished or sophisticated. Just small transcripts from life as seen through an artist eye”.
Small transcripts, indeed! Working in earthy tones, his portraits come to life from the lined oldsters to the shy downcast looks of the youngsters.
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