(b. 1828, Siegburg, d. 1862, Saint Louis)

The Lost Trail

Oil on canvas, 50 x 78 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Half-way between genre and history painting, this early work by the artist takes its inspiration from tales of the American Wild West. It thereby falls into a genre which was extremely popular on the "civilized" East Coast, where works of this type were seen to depict a still wild and untamed America. However, the present work seems to reflect a vision of the Native Americans derived from the grim legends which had grown up around them. Wimar lends them a theatrical appearance and places them in exaggerated poses, while their dress relates to no known tribe of the time and is simply a product of the artist's imagination.