Museum Purchase, Lloyd O. and Marjorie Strong Coulter Fund
John Quidor, a painter of historic and literary subjects, based many of his works on the popular writings of Washington Irving and James Fenimore Cooper. His lively, vivid scenes provide a visual record of the literature read during the artist’s lifetime. This painting’s subject derives from The Pioneers (1823), one of Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales, and stresses the dangers of the frontier as explored in the novel. Protagonist Leatherstocking—nicknamed Natty Bumppo—intervenes to save two women from a panther’s attack. Its focus is not on Leatherstocking, comfortably traversing the wilderness, but on the fainting, terrified, and “civilized” women. One of many characters in The Pioneers, Natty Bumppo appears throughout the Leatherstocking Tales series, including its most famous work The Last of the Mohicans (1826), set during the French and Indian Wars and the struggle between Native tribes and Anglo settlers in what is now New York State.
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