The Lament for the Dead

or
[The Mourners]

Artist
Joseph Henry Sharp
Date
ca. 1921; [1911]
Catalogue Number
67
Medium
oil on canvas
Inscriptions
LR: J.H.SHARP. 1911
 
Inscribed on dust cover: "The Mourners"
Dimensions
47 7/16 x 62 15/16 in.
Credit Line
Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, OK. Gift of the Thomas Gilcrease Foundation, 1955.
Accession Number
0137.354
Subjects

The artist; Thomas Gilcrease, Tulsa, OK, 1946; The Thomas Gilcrease Foundation, Tulsa, OK, 1955; present owner by gift

Death would bring relatives and mourners together, some of whom would inflict wounds on their bodies in grief. The Cheyenne used to cut off a joint of a finger. These rites, wrote Sharp, "...were practiced long before the Spanish--Mexican Penitentes. The painting occupied much of two years at Crow Agency . . . Later corrections on details and drawings were made, but I never disturbed the character of the figures or original conception." The foreground figure is the chief mourner; the others are close family members and friends. (Fenn, 2007, p. 158)