Artwork by Cornelius Krieghoff,  Going to Market

Cornelius Krieghoff
Going to Market

oil on canvas
signed lower right
13.25 x 11.75 ins ( 33.7 x 29.8 cms )

Sold for $25,300.00
Sale date: November 23rd 2017

Private Collection, Calgary
Hugues de Jouvancourt, Cornelius Krieghoff, Toronto, 1973, reproduced page 82
J. Russell Harper, Krieghoff, Toronto, 1979, page 44
Depictions of the Native population make up approximately one-third of Krieghoff’s known body of work, and are some of his most acclaimed paintings. When Krieghoff settled in Montreal in 1846, he regularly painted the First Nations people of Caughnawaga, a Mohawk native reserve on the south shore of the island. In 1853 the artist moved to Quebec, and revisited this preferred subject throughout the city and its surrounding regions. John Russell Harper remarks on this recurring subject in Krieghoff’s paintings: “Some document the solitary moccasin or basket sellers who wandered the streets of Montreal and Quebec City in all seasons; others are of lonely hunters, gun on shoulder, plodding over snowy plains.” “Going to Market” depicts an encounter of two of these vendors on the snow-covered plains of the native reserve. One figure, wrapped in a blanket, clutches a pair of beaded moccasins and faces the other figure whose back is turned to the viewer.

Harper writes that Krieghoff’s use of a snowy landscape setting was intended to add an air of romance to the composition and to suggest a sense of exoticism of the Native people. The artist had little interest in painting these portraits as character studies of individuals with distinct feelings; rather, they served primarily as a symbol of “the native”, with minimal facial expression. In fact, Krieghoff used his wife Emilie as a model for both figures in this painting. The artist’s depictions of native figures, such as in “Going to Market” with only one face visible, serve essentially as mannequins for the display of exotic costumes. This approach relates to a similar practice widespread in European painting since the early 18th century that Krieghoff would have been familiar with.

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Cornelius Krieghoff
(1815 - 1872)

In 1837, Cornelius Krieghoff came to the United States and joined the American army until 1840. During his term of duty he made many sketches of the Seminole tribal war from which he later did paintings. He lived in Montreal for some time and participated in the Salon de la Societe des Artistes de Montreal with the painter Somerville. During his stay in Montreal he befriended the Indians at the Sault Saint-Louis Reservation (Caughnawaga) and made many sketches of them which he later used as inspiration for his paintings. In 1847, he was invited to participate in the first exhibition of the Toronto Society of Arts. In 1853, on the invitation of John Budden, auctioneer, he went to live in Quebec City. He returned to Europe in 1854 and visit Italy and Germany. Back in Canada in 1855, the artist painted winter scenes of farm houses as well as a great variety of themes. Most of the sketches he made since 1855 were destroyed in the Great Quebec Fire in 1881. In 1868 he retired in Chicago. He came back to Quebec City in 1871 only to return again to Chicago where he passed away on March 8.