On February 15, 1904, Sharp sent “six of the most important heads of the year” unmounted and in a roll for Butler to consider for purchase. Sharp wrote, “There is really not much choice in the six. They are all very strong and prominent characters, and I think hold well in execution color, values etc. with my former work. I enclose a little hasty description of each one.” The notation on Bull Thigh read: “Cheyenne. Same man as the one used in your Book Mark. Not a hereditary chief, but important in councils. By his timely advice & interference presented a massacre of the whites (not so long ago) and also a battle with soldiers. My favorite character of the Cheyennes aside from Little Wolf.” In this letter, Sharp acknowledged “You have been my best friend and patron,” and assured Butler he would always show him his best work first.
As requested, Butler returned the portraits to Cincinnati, arriving on February 20, in time for an exhibition opening on the 23rd of fifty to sixty paintings in Sharp’s former Cincinnati studio, 115 East Fourth Street. Immediately Sharp responded to Butler that he could make payments if he decided on any of the portraits and the earlier he knew the better, “. . . as I could mark them ‘sold’ which word often encourages others.” With the exhibition over a few days later on February 28, Sharp sent the portraits of Bull Thigh and Little Bull Chief to Butler, reminding him as the paintings “are fresh they have only slight temporary varnish” and that he hoped in the following year “to make a pilgrimage to your place to permanently varnish all that need it—& to see you."
Butler took up Sharp’s offer to make payments for the two portraits. In his sales book, Sharp recorded a sales price of $100 each for the paintings on March 1904 with payments of $100 on 13 July 13, August 21, September 30, and November 18, 1904.
UL: BULL THIGH. UR: CHEYENNE
The artist; Joseph G. Butler, Jr., Youngstown, OH, 1904; present owner by purchase, 1913
This portrait of Chief Bull Thigh was purchased by Joseph G. Butler, Jr. in 1904 according to Sharp's sales ledgers. In a letter to Butler (2/15/04), Sharp confided in his patron that Bull Thigh was his "favorite character among the Cheyennes aside from Little Wolf." (Sharp Papers)
There are other known, extant oil portraits of Bull Thigh, (Gilcrease Museum, Records 425 and 478) On the verso of Record 425 Sharp mentions a profile version that was exhibited in 1900 in the American section of the Fine Arts Exhibit at the Paris Exposition. It was titled simply Head of Cheyenne. The original of that version's whereabouts is not known, but there is an engraving of Bull Thigh's profile portrait in the collections of the Cincinnati Art Museum. (related image 327a)