Monday, October 4, 2010

Comparing John Taylor and Howling Wolf's art work, "Treaty Signing at Medicine Creek Lodge," p39

Though they depict the same event, John Taylor’s work, Treaty Signing at Medicine Creek Lodge, is very different from Howling Wolf’s work, Treaty Signing at Medicine Creek Lodge. I find Taylor’s work more representational as it contains natural objects in a form that I can easily recognize. On the contrary, Howling Wolf’s work appears more abstract as the objects in the piece don’t appear real, one can definitely tell that his work is very two dimensional and are just drawn on paper. The two art pieces are very different in form as well, as Taylor’s is a sketch possibly produced with pencil or maybe a pen, and Howling Wolf’s work is more like a child’s drawing done with crayon. Howling Wolf depicts the landscape as more of a bunch of Indian tribes’ campgrounds, and Taylor depicts it as more of a meeting setting in the woods.  I think that Howling Wolf depicts the confluence of Medicine Creek and the Arkansas in his drawing because he wants to show his viewer how big of a deal this meeting was and how people and tribes from different places came for this one major meeting.
I think that Howling wolf has a view of the meeting from above, opposed to Taylor’s view inside the grove, because he sees the world with a wider view over Taylor’s narrow view. In Taylor’s drawing, it is easy to assume that he is more focused on the meeting itself than the world around the meeting and how it will affect the world around the meeting; whereas, Howling wolf is more concerned with the bigger picture and how the things discussed and decided at the meeting will change the outside world. Howling Wolf’s drawing shows distinct characteristics from all the tribes that were present, while Taylor’s drawing just shows that some Indians were present, but it is unclear as to which ones are from what tribe and which Indians are even in the same tribe. Taylor’s art work is very ethnocentric as he doesn’t see the Indians as being important to the meeting. If he did see the Indians as being essential to the meeting then they would have been more clearly drawn and given more space in his drawing.
The presence of women in each artist’s painting also varied. In Taylor’s drawing no woman could clearly be pointed out; whereas in Howling Wolf’s drawing the majority of the people drawn in his work are woman. This definitely points to a difference in the societies of the white man compared to the Indian. In the white man’s society women’s opinions and decisions were not valued and so they were not necessary to the meeting, but in the Indian tribes’ society high value was placed on their women and so it was important for Howling Wolf to place women in his drawing. Although the two drawings have the same subject matter – the treaty signing at Medicine Creek Lodge – they both have very different meanings and viewpoints backing them up.


  1. You definitely brought up some interesting points about the painting. Most of them were covered in my art history book, but I thought your view on how each artist viewed the world and represented it in their paintings was very well written.