Robert Cole Caples

1_SOLD Robert Cole Caples_Jigger Bob.jpg
2_Robert Caples_Jigger Bob signature.JPG
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5_Robert Caples_Jigger Bob verso.jpg
1_SOLD Robert Cole Caples_Jigger Bob.jpg
2_Robert Caples_Jigger Bob signature.JPG
3_Robert Caples_Jigger Bob frame top corner.jpg
5_Robert Caples_Jigger Bob verso.jpg

Robert Cole Caples

0.00

Jigger Bob, c.1930s

  • Charcoal on artist board (see notes on condition below)  
  • Sight: 21.5” high 17.5” wide
  • Frame: 26.25” high 22.5” wide
  • Signature: Lower right 

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About the work

This work originates from the collection of Elizabeth Willis DeHuff, author and patron of Indian arts. It depicts the elderly Pyramid Lake Paiute tribe member Jigger Bob and was a preliminary study for a now well-known final work titled “The Story Teller.” More recently the drawing was published in the Nevada Museum of Art Education Guide for a traveling exhibition of works by Caples. 

Shortly after arriving in Reno in 1924 at the age of sixteen, Robert Cole Caples (1908 - 1979) began the first of his many trips to Pyramid Lake. His adventures brought him into contact with members of the indigenous Paiute Indian population, who he would later sketch in 1930s while an employee of the Federal Arts Project. Those drawings are now considered by many to be his most memorable and finest works, one of which was chosen to represent Nevada at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. 

His drawings were noteworthy for portraying distinct individuals performing their everyday tasks—figures that seem to have no awareness of the viewer and exude an innate form of dignity and intelligence. 

Years later the drawings were reproduced in two portfolios published by the University of Nevada Press. The 1970 portfolio titled “The Desert People” included the “Story Teller” version of Jigger Bob, which Caples described in a 1976 radio interview:  

Jigger Bob was a magnificent Indian who lived out at Pyramid Lake. I counted him as one of the finest to find and draw. It was agreed after much comings and goings that he would sit for me. I felt very honored that he would consent to pose. I made a drawing of him that I believe is now called “The Story Teller.” I showed him with a rabbit skin around his shoulders, it was a rabbit skin robe to put the drawing back in time a bit. The likeness, I like to believe, is rather close. His face was lined as the desert is lined, it reflects for me, the stuff of the desert.  

  “The Story Teller” - From the portfolio “The Desert People,” published by University of Nevada Press, 1970.

“The Story Teller” - From the portfolio “The Desert People,” published by University of Nevada Press, 1970.

Notes on condition: Moderate toning with specks of foxing. 

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