North America, American
17 3/16 in. x 20 13/16 in. (43.66 cm x 52.86 cm)
Medium and Support:
Watercolor and egg tempera on paper
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama, The Blount Collection
The subject of this painting is James "Goingback" Chiltoskey a member of the Cherokee nation. Born in 1907 in a remote area of North Carolina, Goingback (or G.B., as he was known) was a sickly child who required repeated attendance by Cherokee medicine men. They had to travel to the boy’s remote home to treat him, and they gave him his name because they were constantly “going back” to check on his health. Chiltoskey, a highly talented woodcarver, met the painter Hubert Shuptrine in 1970, when they both participated in the Plum Nellie Arts and Crafts Show in Resin Falls, Georgia. Shuptrine admired Chiltoskey as a fellow artist and as a man with a compelling life story. Shuptrine used indirect lighting to highlight Chiltoskey's face, creating strong shadows that enhance its planes and its lines of character. In the language of art, light is often equated with goodness and grace; here it seems to bless the visage of this man while conveying the dignity and wisdom of age.