Henry F. Farny

The Song of the Talking Wire, 1904

oil on canvas, 22 1/8 x 40 inches

Bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Phelps Taft

Photo: Tony Walsh

Song of the Talking Wire, which Farny painted in 1904, exemplifies the theme and serves as the centerpiece for the exhibition. The wintry backdrop, setting sun, buffalo skull, and deer carcasses slung across the horse all contribute to the feeling of a doomed Indian confronting the inevitable white expansion in the form of the row of telegraph poles.

As with most of his works, Farny created this painting in his studio from sketches and artifacts collected on his trips west. The image illustrates aspects of Indian life that the artist witnessed; the buffalo was nearly extinct (the last hunt of the northern plains was in 1883), making the Indians dependent on government rations.

Return to The Vanishing Frontier: Henry F. Farny, 1847-1916

Photos and text courtesy of Taft Museum.


This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 9/13/11

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