Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Forgotten Heroes: Buffalo Soldier painting readies for auction in Dallas

Posted By Noah
June 30, 2009

An 1898 Fletcher C. Ransom canvas depicting the 9th Calvary charge up San Juan Hill is a featured side-highlight of what is promising to be a superb Western & Texas Art auction here at Heritage world HQ on July 16 - actually it's down the road in the Design District, but still...

This is an exciting painting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it depicts a little known facet of African-American history: the role of the Buffalo Soldier in one of America's most famous battles - San Juan Hill, Cuba, during the Spanish-American War in 1898.

Ransom’s 1898 gouache on paper, Forgotten Heroes; Captain Taylor, Troop C, 9th Calvary, Leading a Charge up the San Juan Hill in the Battle of Cuba, is expected to generate substantial interest from collectors of both African-Americana and militaria.

“Most people are aware of Teddy Roosevelt’s charge up San Juan Hill at the head of his volunteer regiment of Rough Riders,” said Michael Duty, Director, Art of the America West at Heritage. “Less well known is that he did so alongside members of the 9th cavalry, an all African-American troop.”

The story of the Buffalo Soldier is indeed a fascinating overall wrinkle in the fabric of American history, and one that did not get its due in late-19th and early 20th century art and pop culture, which makes Ransom’s intriguing painting all the more important.

Following the Civil War, two cavalry units – the 9th and 10th – and two infantry units – the 24th and 25th – were formed. These African-American troops were posted along, and beyond, the frontier line. They were often involved in some of the most difficult and trying skirmishes of the day, and their diligence in battle was noted by all who they faced and served alongside. All of the units served with distinction throughout the Indian Wars and had the lowest desertion rate of any field troops of that period.

Want a little more of the upcoming Western Art Auction, or a closer look at this painting? Just follow the magic link...

To comment, click on the title of this post.

-Noah Fleisher

No comments:

Post a Comment