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Buffalo Hunt / Solomon McCombs

Essay/Description

In Buffalo Hunt, Muscogee artist Solomon McCombs uses Flatstyle techniques such as an absence of shading and a background devoid of landscape. He breaks with traditional Flatstyle painting, however, by creating a depth of field. He illustrates smaller bison in the top row, and the variation in scale provides perspective and a sense of distance between the foreground and background figures. Through his repetition of the bison figures and their almost identical color-blocked forms, McCombs has created a visually graphic take on Flatstyle painting.

The hunter, wearing a breechcloth and moccasins, rides bareback on an American Paint Pony, here colored blue; he has already delivered a single, deadly blow to his prey, and McCombs homes in on the moment the bison falls. Streaks of blood mark the wound and trail from the animal’s mouth. The hunter’s horse, rearing on its hind legs, is a combination of realistic anatomical proportions and surreal azure hues.

—Jordan Poorman Cocker, Henry Luce Foundation Curatorial Scholar for Indigenous Painting Collection Research, 2021

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Title(s): 
Buffalo Hunt
Creator(s): 
Solomon McCombs (Artist)
Culture: 
Native American; Muscogee (Creek)
Date: 
1949
Materials/Techniques: 
tempera on paper
Classification: 
Object Type: 
Credit Line: 
Gift of the Thomas Gilcrease Foundation, 1955
Accession No: 
02.404
Previous Number(s): 
0227.404; 33134
Department: 
Signed by hand in tempera, "McCOMBS" in lower right on recto; Handwritten notes are present on artwork.
Not On View

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