Thursday, August 07, 2008

Railroad art for sale at Snow Goose Gallery

From: "Blair Purcell"

Good railroad images:

railroad painting

Coming of the Iron Horse, [by western artist Frank McCarthy]. [Enlarge]

Of all the innovations of the nineteenth century, none changed the landscape of the American West more than the steam locomotive. A monument to speed, industry and westward expansion, the locomotive charged across the landscape, changing the face of frontier life forever, but it did not happen overnight. Past and present collided in the prairies and plains, as workers laying tracks for the trains met with resistance from local wildlife. Even the mighty locomotive engine itself, with all its power and might, occasionally ran into the unstoppable force of nature.

"Huge migrating herds of buffalo could stall a train for hours," said Frank McCarthy. "For sport, travelers sometimes took potshots at them from the cars while they waitied for the processsion to pass." It would not be long before progress and profesional hide hunters rendered the threat of buffalo on train tracks nearly extinct.

Print released 1989.
Canvas released 2008.

railroad painting

Powder Monkeys – Cape Horn 1865, [by Mian Situ] [Enlarge]

The California Gold Rush and the opening of the West drove economic interest and demand for a Transcontinental Railroad. In 1863, the Union Pacific began laying track from Omaha to the west while the Central Pacific Railroad Company headed east from Sacramento, California.The two rails would eventually connect on an historic day in May, 1869 in Promontory, Utah.The Central Pacific, plagued by labor and financial problems, laid down only 50 miles of track in the first two years.To compound their problems, the construction path now faced treacherous terrain that rose 7,000 feet into the high Sierras. In his painting, The Powder Monkeys, artist Mian Situ honors the Chinese laborers who, in 1865, were hired for $28 per month to do the very dangerous work of blasting tunnels and laying tracks. ...

Canvas released 2006.

... Here's another ... that brings back one of those glorious days in American history recognized by both the participants and by posterity:

railroad painting

Ten Miles in One Day, [by Mian Situ] [Enlarge]

In 1862 the Pacific Railway Act provided funding for a transcontinental railway that would connect burgeoning California with the rest of the country. The Union Pacific Railroad was given the contract to build west from Omaha, Nebraska, and the Central Pacific Railroad would build east from Sacramento, California. In 1869 the two railroads met at Promontory Summit in Utah Territory.

Victory Camp (later named Rozel Point), located west of Promontory, was so called because Charles Crocker of the Central Pacific won a $10,000 wager from the Union Pacific that his crews could lay more miles of track than the Union Pacific. The Central Pacific hired an additional crew of Chinese laborers. Working alongside the Irish track layers, they built over ten miles of track in twelve hours, a feat that has never been equaled. Their efforts completed the Central Pacific segment of the Transcontinental Railroad. On May 10, 1869, the two tracks met at Promontory Summit in the famous Golden Spike ceremony. Local officials turned out to drive the ceremonial Golden Spike with the ceremonial silver sledgehammer, which made official the joining of the East Coast and the West. After the ceremony had ended, the Golden Spike and laurel railroad tie were removed, and Chinese laborers quietly finished the track with a wooden tie and steel spike.

Mian Situ, recipient of the numerous awards from the Autry Museum of the American West, celebrates this milestone in his new painting. At the Museum’s 2007 Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition and Sale, Ten Miles in One Day sold for $251,200 at silent-bid auction.

Canvas released 2007.

railroad painting

I'll Hold You in My Dreams, [by Americana artist William Phillips] [Enlarge]

The Noon Coast Daylight (train 97 from Los Angeles to San Francisco - see number board to left of stack) is pulling into Santa Barbara station. The time is 2:32 pm on a warm winter day in 1941, less than a month after Pearl Harbor.

This train was discontinued by the Southern Pacific Railroad in January of '42 - prior to the resumption of daylight savings. Standard time had prevailed year round since the end of WW1. Consequently, the sun angle spells out the same story as the train is actually headed a little south of west here in Santa Barbara.

Locomotive 4443, one of the famous GS-4 class, is still moving slowly as it eases to a stop with the observation car still blocking State Street. The locomotive and head end will be further along the platform to the benefit of passengers boarding from near where they are now standing.

The car inspector (man in overalls at the edge of the platform) is ready to start walking the length of the train, tapping the wheels of each car with his hammer - looking for broken flanges or other defects. Scheduled departure for San Franciscois 2:35 pm - a lot to do in three minutes. But railroad workers are a proud lot - and this train is one of the Daylights. It always gets special attention. And keeping State Street blocked any longer than neccesary is frowned on by SP management.

Next stop? San Luis Obispo, 119 miles up the line. 2 hours and 18 minutes scheduled running time. Now, that's long enough for dinner in the diner - if you want to spend a minimum of ninety cents or really splurge with the fresh mountain trout at $1.50.

Just above the station (left side) there are two P-38 fighter aircraft on their first test flight, only a few days after rolling off the assembly line at the Lockheed plant in Burbank. Full production of operational aircraft has continued round the clock since October of the previous year. The 4-8-4 is not much older, having been delivered from Lima Locomotive Works in May of '41.

Businessmen wait to board as does Rosie the Riveter (far left). Amongst a sprinkling of other military personnel, the young Army Air Force Lieutenant stands out as he bids his fiancee goodbye. Look closely, you can see a small diamond on her ring finger. She will be there to welcome him home in the summer of '45.

I thought these would be enjoyed. ... As a railfan and a gallery owner, I am always pleased when quality railroad images are offered by the publishers we represent.


—Blair Purcell

Courtesy Blair Purcell, Copyright © 2008

Thomas Hill's painting, "The Last Spike"

From: "Carol Barker"

Am doing research about Mr. Hill's painting, The Last Spike. When did the CPRR receive it? It was in the State Capital from 1936 to ? Do you have information regarding its whereabouts after artist Hill died in 1908? It was in storage in San Francisco at his death......then???

—Carol Barker, Docent, Haggin Museum, Stockton