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An original drawing study for the painting

“Grandmother in 1885” by T.C. Cannon,1974

Ex: T.C. Cannon Estate Collection

This wonderful graphite on paper drawing is an initial exploratory study for one of Tommy Wayne

(Tee Cee) Cannon’s (1946-1978) major paintings. You can see in the finished painting below how Cannon evolved and developed his ideas for the final piece from his preliminary studies such as this one. It’s like a peek behind the scenes to where and how the artist initially lays down the building blocks of the painting, so to speak. One can see that the general layout of the piece with its profiled horse, it’s distinctively-shaped high-cantled old-style Indian saddle with its decorative brass tacks and elaborately beaded saddle blanket are all present in this study almost precisely as they will appear later in the finished painting (Except for the fact that, interestingly, in the later painting the horse is facing in the opposite direction and the perspective has become considerably wider.)

The horse is also similarly placed against the flat horizon with its row of stylized trees and puffy clouds. We should probably refer to this study as being “Almost Grandmother in 1885” meaning that the rest of the stage is fully set here and we are awaiting only the late arrival of the Grandmother figure which might very well have been Cannon’s final conceptual addition to the piece. The work could very possibly have originally been primarily conceived as “Indian Pony in 1885” before Cannon decided to go ahead and add the human touch and Grandmother figure.

“Grandmother in 1885”, 1974

Oil and acrylic on canvas, 65 ½” by 61 ½”, Private Collection

Photo source and copyright: “T.C. Cannon, He Stood in the Sun”

by Joan Frederick, Northland Publishing, Flagstaff, AZ, 1995

It was ironic, modernist artworks such as this one by Cannon and his fellow Native American artist colleague and former teacher, Fritz W. Scholder (1937-2005), that stood both the American Indian Art world and the American Modern Art world on their respective ears in their groundbreaking 1972 “Two American Painters” exhibition at The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and they continue to exert a very powerful influence in the Modern and Native Art worlds today.

“T.C. Cannon embodied traditional Native American culture combined with the best influences of Western civilization. He was a modern Indian living in a modern world, influenced by both cultures, and he used those influences to comment on the past and our present world.”

Quotation source and copyright: “T.C. Cannon, He Stood in the Sun”

by Joan Frederick, Northland Publishing, Flagstaff, AZ, 1995

This drawing is done in graphite pencil on plain notepaper and it measures 6” by 8” (sight). The framed dimensions are 16” by 18”. The drawing has been very beautifully and fully archivally matted and framed in a custom-made, hand-carved maple wood frame under Ultraviolet light resitant "TruVue" conservation Museum glass by Goldleaf Framemakers of Santa Fe, Santa Fe’s premier fine art framers.

This drawing was acquired directly from T.C. Cannon's sister, Joyce Cannon Yi, the official executor of the T.C. Cannon Estate. The study is properly signed and dated “Cannon 74” at the lower right and it is in excellent original condition. This is a rare opportunity to own a beautiful and significant piece of modern American Indian Art history and a unique and intimate window into a brilliant artist’s

creative thought and work process.

Price $7,250


“T.C. in 1975”, photo source and © by Matthew Wysocki. Excerpted from “T.C. Cannon, He Stood in the Sun”, by Joan Frederick, Northland Publishing, 1995, pp. 11.