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Ralph Albert Blakelock
Moonlight, Indian Encampment
1885–89
oil
27 1/8 x 34 1/8 in
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Gellatly



Blakelock, self-taught and introspective, created spiritual landscapes of sunset and moonlight. This spectral setting glows with an intense lunar light. A group of Indians are encamped near a fire, with one isolated figure contemplating the radiance in the sky. Blakelock had visited the Western territories while in his twenties. By the time this picture was painted in the late 1880s, the Indians must have represented to him a romantic evocation of a lost Eden.