Harvey Otis Young, one of Colorado’s leading 19th century artists, is best known for his Rocky Mountain landscapes and mining scenes that he executed in oil and watercolor. In 1867 Young opened his first studio as a practicing artist in San Francisco “without money or any instruction”. Young wrote a letter to his brother on September 15, 1868 in which he stated that his works commanded “good prices…from the start”.
Native American Encampment which Young signed and dated in 1874 could potentially have been inspired by one of the mountain ranges north of San Francisco where Young was known to have searched for gold, having travelled with his wife and children on the railroad’s first cross-continental train trip to California. Alternatively the picture could also represent an Indian encampment along the Merced River in Yosemite where it is known that Young painted in the same year 1874 a picture entitled A View Along the Merced River, Yosemite. Although the exact name of the mountain or mountain range may not be known to us, Young’s paintings were always accurate representations of his chosen landscapes. For his paintings Young used a unique combination of oil and watercolor that was then covered with a special varnish that Young himself invented after many years of experimenting.
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