James Earle Fraser (American, 1876–1953)
33 x 26 x 8 3/4 in. (83.8 x 66 x 22.2 cm)
Purchase, Friends of The American Wing Fund, Mr. and Mrs. S. Parker Gilbert Gift, Morris K. Jesup and 2004 Benefit Funds, 2010 (2010.73)
End of the Trail is emblematic of the western American subjects created by turn-of-the-century French-trained artists such as James Earle Fraser who were expressing themselves as American through their choice of subject matter and as modern through their sophisticated command of current aesthetic and compositional principles. The weary Indian, slumped dejectedly upon his windblown pony, is a stirring interpretation of the damaging effects of advancing white settlement on the Native American population. Based on Fraser's firsthand experiences growing up on a ranch in Dakota Territory in the 1880s, his sculpture, rich in narrative detail, was intended as a symbolic comment on the confinement of Native Americans on government reservations. The sculptor earned popular acclaim in 1915 when he displayed a monumental plaster version at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. He then produced statuettes in two heights, of which this is a larger example. This cast, with its superlative attention to textural detail and thinly applied original patina, was produced at Roman Bronze Works, the preeminent American foundry of its day.