William T. Trego: Catalogue Raisonne

Into The Fight, 1895

Courtesy of Tom and Barbara Foote

Vital Statistics

Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches
Signed and dated, ll: “Wm. T. Trego 1895”
Tom and Barbara Foote

Commentary

In the midst of a densely packed cavalry charge, Trego has inserted several of the most intense images to be found in any of his works. Slashing across the center of the painting in a broad diagonal stroke are three horses in extreme distress. Whether they have been shot or frightened by shell fire is uncertain, but their state of agitation has disastrous results for the men on and around them. One horse rears up in apparent agony to the very top of the image and seems about to fall on the alarmed cavalryman closest to it. Another horse directly in front of it appears similarly affected. Meanwhile, just below and in front of these horses, another horse is falling, throwing its rider. The hapless cavalryman seems about to fly out of the pictorial space, an effect unprecedented in Trego’s work.

Provenance

The painting has been in the family of the current owner for three generations.

Exhibitions

Philadelphia, 1895: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts .

New York, 1896: National Academy of Design

Reference

Peter Hastings Falk, The Annual Exhibition Record of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1876–1913 (Madison, CT: Soundview Press, 1988/89)

Maria Naylor, ed., Exhibitions of the National Academy of Design, 1861–1900 (New York: Kennedy Galleries, 1973)

"There is . . vim and go in Trego’s “Into the Fight.” (“Pictures at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts,” New York Times, 22 December 1895) “Acting on instructions from Mr. Morris, I wish to inform you we have an offer of $65 for your picture entitled “Into the Fight.” (Frank N. Wrightman to William Trego, 25 January 1896, Trego File, PAFA Archives) “. . . I received a letter from your salesman stating that you had an offer of $65 for my picture, ‘Into the Fight.’ That seems to me like a ridiculously small price for such a picture costing me several months work. . . . Will you please let me know if you intend sending a consignment of pictures to the Academy of Design Exhibition . . . as I desire to send it if you do not sell it.” (Wm. T. Trego to Harrison Morris, 20 February 1896, Trego file, PAFA Archives)

Condition

At some point in its history, the painting was removed from its original stretchers and reduced in size, perhaps to fit its current frame. It lost an inch off the top and bottom of the image as the canvas was wrapped around a new set of stretchers. Nevertheless, the painting is in basically sound condition but in need of cleaning and revarnishing.



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James A. Michener Art Museum William T. Trego Catalogue Raisonne