American Indian
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Howling Wolf (Southern Cheyenne, 1849–1927),
Drawing Book , ca. 1875
ink and watercolor on paper, 7 1/2 x 10 1/4 in.; 19.05 x 26.04 cm
Gift of Alexander M. Maish in memory of Anna Bourke Richardson, 1991.19

By 1860 Plains men were depicting scenes of their battle exploits not only on hide but also on paper. The ledger books used by storekeepers to record their sales were one of the earliest sources of paper for warrior-artists, and their art – done on any sort of paper – has come to be called “ledger art.” The subject matter soon expanded to include all of Plains daily and ritual life. This artist, Howling Wolf, developed a distinctive style, unusual because it often incorporates landscape elements. The scene is a horse race. In a typical Plains approach to conveying time and action, the drawing shows the past and present simultaneously. At the upper left men fire guns to begin the race. Hoofprints show the path of the race, while the racers speed back to the starting point.

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