1933-1934 Ila McAfee Turner Born: Gunnison, Colorado 1897 Died: Pueblo, Colorado 1995 oil on canvas 36 1/8 x 42 in. (91.9 x 106.8 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor 1964.1.80 Not currently on view
Two mountain lions gaze serenely over their home range from atop a ridge of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Artist Ila McAfee Turner brought out the gentle beauty and fleeting companionship of these big predators during the days a newly mated pair spends together. During the rest of the year the mature cats live in separate territories.
Turner lived in Taos, New Mexico, but was well acquainted with this dramatic, steep-sided Colorado canyon and its animal inhabitants. She had grown up riding horseback around her family's ranch outside the mining town of Gunnison, Colorado. In a song titled "Did You Ever Hear of Gunnison?" the artist described her childhood home as she showed these mountain lions, "way up there, in thin clean air, far away from anywhere, up on the beautiful wester slope, high in the rugged Rocky Mountains."
1934: A New Deal for Artists exhibition label
Animal - cougar
Landscape - mountain
Landscape - rocks
New Deal - Public Works of Art Project - New Mexico
paint - oil
fabric - canvas