Frost Comes, 1853

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Frost Comes, 1853
Frost Comes, 1853
Artist: Whitlock, SarahDate of Birth: 19th Century
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 40 x 50 1/2 inches
Signed: Signed lower center and titled

Residing in Troy, New York, it is thought that Sarah Huntington Whitlock painted in the 1850’s and 1860’s. It’s impossible to know whether Frost Comes is Whitlock’s original title, but the work has come to bear the same additional title as a major canvas by John Mix Stanley—The Last of their Race—as if to draw a comparison between this painting and Stanley’s masterpiece. Artists of the period often saw the plight of Native Americans as a Shakespearean tragedy filled with the kind of pathos in Whitlock’s painting where an American Indian family weeps beside the shore, pushed to the literal brink. The sun sets. Turbulent clouds obscure the horizon, the future. The dog looks to the red-robed chief who looks down and offers no comfort. Two young women are in tears, while the eldest woman looks back, anxiously. Always in this kind of mythical tale, there is a classical stoicism in their suffering, something you see in Roman renderings of the vanquished Gauls. Frost Comes is a remarkable painting painted by a remarkable woman at a time when women did not paint heroic oils.