Painter, sculptor. When he was still an infant, Deming’s family moved from his birthplace in Ashland, Ohio, to western Illinois, an area that during those pre-and post-Civil War years retained a frontier character, and where roaming Winnebago Indians were sometimes neighbors. While still in his teens, Deming traveled to Indian territory in Oklahoma and sketched extensively. Determined to become a painter of Indians, he enrolled at the Art Students League, then spent a year at the Académie Julian in Paris (1884−85), studying under Gustave Boulanger and Jules Lefebvre. Back in the United States, he worked the next two years painting cycloramas. In 1887 Deming first visited and painted the Apaches and Pueblos of the Southwest. His active career of painting and illustrating took him repeatedly to the lands of the Blackfoot, Crow, and Sioux, as well as to Arizona and New Mexico. After the turn of the century, Deming devoted more time to sculpture but also began work on a series of romantic murals of Indian life, which were subsequently installed in the American Museum of Natural History and the Museum of the American Indian in New York.
Walsh. Edwin Willard Deming: His Work
Frink, Maurice. “Edwin W. Deming: That Man, He Paint.” American Scene 12, no. 3 (1971): entire issue.
Broder. Bronzes of the American West, pp. 57–61.
Charles Eldredge, Julie Schimmel, and William H. Truettner Art in New Mexico, 1900–1945: Paths to Taos and Santa Fe (Washington, DC: National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 1986)
Edwin Willard Deming grew up in western Illinois, where he befriended members of the Winnebago tribe. Although his father expected him to become a lawyer, Deming wanted a career as an artist. He crisscrossed the country to paint Native Americans, winning the respect of many of his sitters. The Blackfeet Indians adopted him and his family as an act of gratitude for what the artist described as “making a record so their children and grandchildren could see how their fathers lived.”