twice stamped Nicholas Roerich Paintings & Collections, Inc. (on the reverse)
oil and tempera on canvas
26 by 80 1/2 in.
66 by 204.5 cm
We would like to thank Gvido Trepša, Senior Researcher, Nicholas Roerich Museum, New York, for providing additional catalogue information.
Collection of Louis and Nettie Horch, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Nicholas Roerich spent the second half of August 1921 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He went there in part to get a break from the stressful New York lifestyle and also to indulge his interest in the famous spiritual sites of the Pueblo Indians. He brought back nearly a dozen desert and mountain landscape compositions, as well as several depictions of the pueblos of Santa Fe and Taos. The artist later wrote, "If you go through the fairyland of the Indian pueblos, listen to their wonderful songs and profound ceremonial dances... after seeing the rich fantasy of their totem poles and examining their household utensils, you will then know the feeling of Western Russia or Siberia. It all combines into evidence that strengthens the old legend that several Indian tribes migrated from Siberia and Alaska." These cross-cultural references might have inspired the artist to add the silhouette of the white horseman, a symbol of the coming messiah, in the clouds above the glorified abode of people who lived in harmony with the natural and spiritual worlds. In 1923, this concept of the coming messiah found its full realization in the series of the same title, and in his painting Legend, Roerich chose to again depict the pueblo as one of the composition's key iconographic elements.