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John Fery: Artist of the Rockies

June 15 through September 18, 2010

The Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell, Montana celebrates Glacier National Park's Centennial Year with major events and exhibits.  As a heritage and cultural institution with a unique relationship to Glacier National Park, the Hockaday presents the historic John Fery: Artist of the Rockies exhibit. (right: John Fery, Mt. Jackson and Gunsight Pass, Oil on Canvas, 48 x 72 inches. From the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Collection)

John Fery studied in Europe under Peter Jansen at the Dusseldorf Academy in Germany.  His first experience with America was bringing European nobility on hunting trips through the Northwest between 1892 - 1893, where he painted the landscape of the American West during these trips.   

In 1910, Louis Hill, president of the Great Northern Railway Company, instituted the "See America First" campaign with a goal of increasing railroad travel to Glacier National Park.  A subsidiary of Great Northern owned the hotels and lodges within the Park. "See America First" extolled the natural wonders of the pristine mountain wilderness that was to become Glacier National Park. Hill wanted large, dramatic paintings and photographs to hang in ticket agencies in major cities and in Great Northern depots from St. Paul to Seattle.  The art would also be loaned for display in public and private buildings, fairs and expositions.

Louis Hill offered John Fery a studio, railroad pass, modest living allowance, accommodations in Glacier Park and $200/month annual salary -- all in exchange an average of fourteen paintings per month of the magnificent mountains he loved.  Fery spent the summer of 1910 in Glacier Park making field sketches from which to create finished paintings through fall and winter. In 1913, a Great Northern company memorandum stated that "Mr. Fery has completed up to date 267 paintings of various sizes from 40" x 60" to 48" x 192."  At this rate, the average cost per painting was $31.70.  Fery produced an average of nine paintings per month throughout his more than two and a half years of employment with Great Northern.  By September 1913, Fery had created 347 paintings for the Great Northern Railroad.  His work was on display in twenty-five states, the District of Columbia, two Canadian provinces and in Berlin, Germany.

Fery made an important contribution in the creation of Glacier National Park through his work.  The Hockaday is proud to present this collection of paintings in cooperation with the Fery family, BNSF Railway and private collectors to celebrate the 100th Birthday of Glacier National Park.  Twenty-three oil-on-canvas paintings ranging from 13" x 9" to 48" x 72" are on display in the Museum's front three galleries.  John Fery: Artist of the Rockies is on exhibit at the Hockaday June 15 through September 18, 2010.  

The John Fery: Artist of the Rockies exhibit at the Hockaday is made possible in part by support of the following: Plum Creek Foundation, BNSF Railway Foundation, American Printing, Digital Planet, John B. & Delores Carlo Fery, Flathead Beacon, Flathead Living, Going To The Sun Gallery, Lucy Smith, Van Kirke & Helen Nelson/Glacier Gallery, Tedrowe & Jill Watkins, Hilton Garden Inn, Horizon Air, Insty-Prints of Kalispell, Bob & Tabby Ivy, JBUR-Solutions, Denny & Kitty Kellogg, and Moore Hearing.


(above: John Fery, Bull Moose, Lake and Mountain Peaks, Oil on Canvas, 36 x 72 inches. From the John B. Fery Collection)

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9/7/12 Editor's note: During a tour of Glacier National Park in Montana, Resource Library's editor visited the Glacier Park Lodge. Mounted on the walls of the second floor walkway surrounding the hotel's grand lobby are several heroic-size Fery landscapes. Visitors to East Glacier, adjacent to the Eastern side of the National Park, should stop by the hotel to view these magnificent paintings. A Wikipedia entry about the Lodge shows the second floor walkway and a sliver of one of the paintings.

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