Mountain Lions

  • Ila McAfee Turner, Mountain Lions, 1933-1934, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor, 1964.1.80

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

Mountain Lions
36 1842 in. (91.9106.8 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Animal – cougar
  • New Deal – Public Works of Art Project – New Mexico
  • Landscape – mountain
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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