“Our Camp on Piramide [sic] Lake” - Nevada, c.1890-1900
- Oil on artist board
- Sight: 12" high x 18” wide
- Frame: 19.5” high 25.5” wide
- Signature: Lower right
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About the work
Artist George Peter (1859-1950) came to the United States in the late 1880s to work as a panorama painter. He settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, known at the time as "Little Munich” since it attracted so many artists from German-speaking countries seeking employment in the city’s panorama studios. One such artist was John Fery (1859-1934), an acquaintance of George Peter who is known today for his paintings of the American West.
While the background of Peter’s painting of Pyramid Lake is not known, a plausible theory is that he accompanied John Fery on one of his travels to the American West beginning in 1890 when the popularity of panorama paintings was on the wane and the artists needed a new source of income. Fery organized at least three hunting expeditions to the American West/Southwest for European sportsmen in search of wilderness scenery and wild game.
Details of the expeditions are scanty, but a group that left Europe in 1893 is said to have included eight German hunters who visited several western states, including New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, and Wyoming.
The scene in Peter’s painting of Pyramid Lake shows several tents and a boat on the water’s edge, which appears consistent with an expedition comprised of some several sportsman. It’s highly likely that Fery’s expeditions would have crossed Nevada at some point during their travels, making a visit to Pyramid Lake a logical stop for those in search of an exotic environment and first-class angling.
The age of the board Peter used for the painting is consistent with the period of Fery’s expeditions, the back of which is inscribed with a pencil notation reading “Our Camp on Piramide Lake.”
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