Martin Grelle (b. 1954)
Monarchs of the North (2002)
oil on canvas
46 x 60 inches
signed and dated lower right
Artist’s label with signature, title, and date
Monarchs of the North was winner of the People’s Choice award at the 37th Annual Exhibition of the Cowboy Artists of America in 2002.
Elmer Kelton wrote, “The coming of the horse transformed the Plains Indians. They were no longer a people afoot, depending upon their own strong backs and those of their dogs to transport their belongings. The horse made them highly mobile hunters and warriors able to ride extreme distances in a short time. A horse might carry
or drag four times as much weight as a dog and travel at least as far in a day under that burden.
“The Blackfeet were among the earliest of the ‘modern’ Plains Indians, settling along what became the Montana - Canada border after driving out the Kutenai. Their Algonquian dialect ties them to eastern tribes and makes them relatives of the Arapahoes and Gros Ventres.
Evidence points toward a woodlands origin farther east, probably in the Red River Valley of Minnesota. Reasons for the Blackfeet migration can only be speculated upon: war, crowding by an expanding population, the attraction of big game on the plains.
“Historian John C. Ewers suggests that they may have lived for centuries in the transition zone between the forests and the grasslands before moving out onto the high plains in the eighteenth century and, after acquiring the horse, settling against the eastern foot of the Rocky Mountains. They became, in their time, the most powerful tribe north of the Missouri River.”
37th Annual Exhibition, Cowboy Artists of America, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ, Oct 19 - Nov 17, 2002
Catalog, 37th Annual Exhibition (Phoenix, AZ: Cowboy Artists of America, 2002), p 53, illustrated
Surface condition is excellent. No signs of inpainting.