Artwork of the Week: March 3, 2019
Carl Oscar Borg (1879-1947), Navajo Land, c.1932, oil on canvas, 25 x 30 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, 1967.
Three Navajo horsemen ride into the shadows of towering cliffs leaving trails of dust, while five more riders follow behind in the bright sunlight. Borg’s bold brushstrokes evoke the rough textures of the sagebrush and the strata of the sandstone. This painting implies the immensity of the canyon wall by showing only its base and leaving the rest to the imagination.
Born on March 3, 1879 to a poor family in Sweden, Borg left home at fourteen and over the following decade traveled and worked in England, France, Canada, and the United States, sketching everywhere he went. In his late thirties, Borg became intensely interested in the Navajo and Hopi people, visiting their reservations every year and painting scenes from their lives. In 1923, the Christian Science Monitor extolled him as “one of the most sympathetic and truthful exponents of the Land of the Hopi and Navajo.”