Amon Carter print details

Photographer Erwin E. Smith riding a "sunfisher" and he is not pulling leather, Bonham, Texas

Erwin E. Smith (1886-1947)

Object Details

  • Date

    1908, printed ca. 1936

  • Object Type


  • Medium

    Gelatin silver print

  • Dimensions

    Image: 13 7/16 x 9 3/4 in.
    Sheet: 13 7/8 x 10 15/16 in.

  • Inscriptions


    u.r. in red ink: Erwin Smith - " on the \ Sunfisher" - Erwin had a like picture \ this made up for mounting \ on his brochure, "Picture of \ the West" - only the horse is \ the same!

    u.r. in graphite: S6-10

    u.c. in blue ink: 5000 [illeg.]

  • Collection Name

    Erwin E. Smith Pettis Collection

  • Credit Line

    Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Bequest of Mary Alice Pettis

  • Accession Number


  • Copyright

    Public domain

Object Description

Growing up in Bonham, Texas, Smith wanted to be a cowboy on an epic cattle drive. That way of life was fading fast, but the mythology was just beginning, spurred on by popular literature, early films, and art like that by Frederic Remington and Charles Russell. Smith spent time working on ranches to gain firsthand experience, and he attended prestigious art schools in Chicago and Boston.

Between 1905 and 1912 he photographed ranches and cattle drives in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, capturing the day-to-day facets of cowboy life, from gathering at the chuck wagon for meals to roping cows and breaking broncs. Sometimes, as in this image, he cast himself as a heroic participant, partaking in a long tradition of artists portraying White men “taming” the West. In reality, the West was inhabited millennia before the cowboys arrived, and their peak was long past by the time Smith took this photograph.

—Text taken from the Carter Handbook (2023)

Additional details

Location: Off view
See more by Erwin E. Smith


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