The Park City Museum will host Denizens: Wildlife on the Western Frontier from November 4, 2023 to January 7, 2024. This exhibit features the spectrum of wildlife which graced the 19th century frontier American West. Original engravings from Harper’s Weekly, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, The Illustrated London News, and other historical sources illuminate the native species and their interaction with humans. Included in this menagerie are: bears, bison, elk, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, moose, wolves, beaver, cougars, wolverines, eagles, osprey, rattlesnakes, and wild mustangs. These derivative images portray them in their natural habitat, or as the object of mankind’s penchant to hunt them for food, clothing, or sport. Prints such those in this exhibit were the medium by which most Americans viewed visual art, since artists were glad to reproduce their original imagery and enhance their name via the popular press.
The panoply of scenes includes: dramatic surprise encounters between man and animal, stealthy approach by hunters, conflicts between predator and prey species, a stampede from a prairie fire, Native American veneration of wildlife, and faunal portraits set in their natural habitat. Many of these vintage artworks were rendered in color by the chromolithograph process, while others were skillfully hand tinted. The exhibit is complemented by numerous historical accounts by the frontiersmen who encountered these wild animals. These narratives are rich in their articulate descriptions by people who encountered them before the great die-off of the late nineteenth century.
This exhibit is drawn from the Lee Silliman print collection. Notable artists represented in the exhibit include Frederic Remington, George Catlin, and Alfred Jacob Miller.