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Eastern Indian/Frontier Art
Robert Griffing


The Delicate Balance of Honesty
by Robert Griffing


Text by Tim Todish:

As the American frontier pushed ever westward, trade was one of the most important aspects of the relationship between the Indians and the whites. This painting depicts a scene thaat no doubt was repeated many times during the fur trade era. Four native hunters are scrutinizing the weighing of a bundle of fur pelts that they have brought to a trading post to exchange for European made goods. The value of the furs was based on their weight, and accurate measurement was in the best interest of both sides. For the most part, fur trade transactions were conducted honestly, but occasionally white traders sold inferior goods or charged inflated prices, and Indians were known to rub sand into the skins to increase their weights.

The demand for animal furs among Europeans dates back at least to the Middle Ages, and by the mid-eighteenth century, the time period depicted in this painting, North America had become a major source of those furs. The fur trade was a complex and risky business. Goods had to be manufactured and purchased in Europe or the Orient and shipped to North America. Then they had to be transported into the interior where they could be traded for furs, usually from Indian hunters and trappers.

The original oil painting sold at the 2010 Masters of the American West show for $85,000.00.


9.5" x 13.5" open edition paper print
Price: $45.00
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55 signed and numbered (s/n) limited edition canvas prints only
Image Size: 24" x 36"
Sold out print. One currently in stock. Price: $925.00
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