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64. HUFFMAN, L[aton] A[lton].  “Cutting out a Steer” [untitled sepia tone collotype of a Black cowboy cutting out a steer]. N.p., n.d. [ca. 1900].  Printed signature “L. A. Huffman” at lower right in image.  17.8 x 30.6 cm.  Matted.  Fine condition.

     This photograph, which shatters the cowboy stereotype, is reproduced on p. 36 of Brown & Felton’s Before Barbed Wire. Cf. Reese, Six Score 16. “The Huffman pictures constitute one of the finest pictorial records of life on the western frontier” (Thrapp II, pp. 688-89).  Huffman (1854-1931) documented the last days of the wide-open Western frontier, first in his studio and then from horseback as he wandered across Montana looking for subjects, which included Native Americans, ranch and range life, and cowboys, such as the Black cowboy shown here.  His photographs were considered superb at the time they were issued and have maintained their appeal to this day.  The contents of his studio at Miles City, Montana, were recently acquired by the venue of this auction.  For more on Huffman (1854-1931) see Nathan Bender’s excellent essay, “L. A. Huffman:  Documenting the Old West” (includes a reproduction of this image), at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center site: ($300-600)

Auction 19 Short Title List | Auction 19 Prices Realized

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