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Global Antiques and Fine Art

Joseph Roy Willis (American 1876-1960) Original Oil- 25.5"H x 21.5"W- 'Navajo Silversmith by Fire' Displayed in Museums & high gallery price

Regular price $3,100.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $3,100.00 USD
Sale Sold out
Original Oil Painting by well exhibited (displayed in numerous museums..see below) New Mexico artist Joseph (J.R.) Willis (1876-1960). Wonderful painting depicts Navajo Silversmith working by open fire. Wonderfully executed work highlights Willis's talent with his ability his to capture incredible detail as well as his mastery of light and shade. This painting of a typical high-desert landscape in western New Mexico on the Navajo Reservation in an excellent example of his work. Painting signed at lower left. Comes professionally frame and in overall nice condition. Much sought after artist exhibited in Museums that sells for high prices at auctions and galleries - Painting shows artist skilled technique.

Signature: Signed lower right

Medium: Oil on stretch canvas

Size: c 25.5" Height X 21.5 Wide inches with frame (64.77 cm X 54.61 cm)
c 19.5" H X 15.5" W unframed (site) (49.53cm x 39.37cm)

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Returns & exchanges:
Returns accepted within 30 days of the purchase of the item. However, the buyer is responsible for shipping the item back to us and that cost will not be refunded. We will refund your money for the item as soon as we receive the item back. Please send the item back to us with tracking.


Museum holdings:
Albuquerque Museum
Imabari, Japan Shikoku
Cesar, Colombia.

About artist:
J. R. Willis’ career began as a political cartoonist during the Spanish American War. He worked at the Atlanta Constitution before going to New York to study art around 1908. Then he went to California, where he was a pioneer in the cartoon industry. He also spent 10 years as a "chalk talk" artist in vaudeville.


In 1917, he was booked at a theater in Gallup, New Mexico, when the owner of the theater died of influenza. Willis bought the theater and established a photography studio in Gallup. In 1931, he moved to Old Town in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and in 1938, he built his home and studio at the corner of Rio Grande and Alhambra Drive in the country club district of Albuquerque. The property is now a bed and breakfast known as Casas de Sueños Old Town Historic Inn (Dream House).

Joseph R. Willis (1876-1960) was known for his portraits of American Indians, principally of New Mexico and Arizona. His work was realistic. Photography was another medium for which he was well known. Many of the photographs were used to make view-master reels and post cards, which have become quite collectible today.

Joseph R. Willis (1876-1960) signatureThis painting of a typical high-desert landscape in western New Mexico on the Navajo Reservation in an excellent example of Willis’ ability to bring life where there is little. The piñon tree in the far right fills the area with a single feature of dark beauty. The twist in the trunk is a realistic expectation of a piñon. On the far left, Willis placed a couple of Navajo taking a break from horse riding. The green Chamisa plants in the foreground contrast beautifully with the yellow ground. The blue sky is host to pink and blue colors of the late afternoon clouds.

The exactitude of photography had an influence on Willis’s painting style. His paintings are very photographic realism. He painted what he saw as a photographer, not what he might have been tempted to present. If one searched long enough, the site location of this painting could be found and it would look just like he painted in this painting.