The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Sotheby's to Sell Custer's Last Flag, Preserved Until now at Detroit Museum
The Culbertson Guidon from the Battle of the Little Big Horn, 32 ½ by 26 ½ in. Estimate: $2/5 million. Photo: Sotheby's.
NEW YORK, NY.- One hundred and thirty-four years ago today, George Armstrong Custer and his 7th Cavalry were overwhelmed near the Little Big Horn River by warriors of the Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne. No survivors remained among those who fought under Custer’s direct command and few physical artifacts of the battle were left on the field, the Indians carrying with them anything that might reflect on their prowess or prove to be of utilitarian use. But a cavalry guidon, or swallow-tail flag, was hidden under the body of a dead trooper and discovered three days after the battle by Sergeant Ferdinand Culbertson, who was assigned to a burial party. Today Sotheby's announces that this sacred relic, emblematic of one of the most significant events in American history, will be offered for sale in October 2010: Custer’s Last Flag: The Culbertson Guidon from The Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Since 1895, this fragile silk flag has been preserved at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The guidon had been given by Culbertson to Charles and Rose Fowler of Detroit in approximately 1880. The flag was purchased from Rose Fowler Reidel, by a public contribution in 1895. It will be offered for sale at Sotheby’s in October 2010 with an estimate of $2/5 million and proceeds from the auction will be used by the museum exclusively for future art purchases. The guidon will be unveiled to the public in September.

“This immortal battle flag represents the spirit, the bravery and the tragedy of one of the most dramatic moments in American history,” commented David Redden, Vice Chairman of Sotheby’s. “Battle-worn and bullet-torn, the Culbertson Guidon conjures the ferocity of that terrible battle.”

“The Detroit Institute of Arts has been a steward of this flag for more than 115 years,” said Graham W. J. Beal, DIA director. “In 1895, the flag fit in with the wide range of artifacts collected and displayed at that time. It remains, without doubt, an important historical treasure, but has long since ceased to meet current criteria as a work of art. It makes sense for us to sell it for the benefit of the collection.”

The Battle of the Little Big Horn on June 25, 1876, also known as Custer’s Last Stand, was a pivotal moment in American history – and one of the most debated topics in American historiography. News of the Native American’s annihilation of the United States forces and Custer’s death reached the East just as Centennial celebrations were getting underway and shocked a nation that had become accustomed to victory. The massacre of Custer's troops brought a renewed urgency--and an altogether new brutality--to the Indian Wars. The reports of the stoic bravery of cavalry troopers (whether accurate or not) provided the impetus for the Federal government to reprise the lessons of total warfare so efficiently taught during the Civil War by Sherman and Grant. The frenzy to avenge Custer accelerated to an almost incomprehensible degree the confinement and transformation of Plains Indian culture: within a dozen years Sioux warriors who had fought the 7th Cavalry at Little Big Horn were recreating the battle for Eastern audiences in Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show.

Custer’s widow fiercely and astutely promoted her husband’s reputation, and for at least two generations, tales of Custer’s personal bravery and charisma dominated studies of the Little Big Horn. The Last Stand inspired hundreds of movies, songs and books, including one published just this month -- “The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull and the Battle of the Little Big Horn” by Nathaniel Philbrick. After a sharp reversal of this traditional view -- which attributed responsibility to Custer’s blundering as well as to federal Indian policy -- a more nuanced view now prevails.

The significance of the Culbertson Guidon was recognized immediately. Even before it arrived at the Detroit Institute of Arts, one of its stars and a patch of the white and red stripes had been carefully snipped away as relics, very possibly by other members of Culbertson's burial party. Otherwise, it has survived in remarkably fine condition, a tangible reminder of the uncertainty of martial triumph.

Sotheby's | Graham W. J. Beal | The Detroit Institute of Arts |


Today's News

June 26, 2010

Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy at Chicago's MCA

Sotheby's to Sell Custer's Last Flag, Preserved Until now at Detroit Museum

Cleveland Museum of Art Marks Another Project Milestone

Sotheby's Summer Sales of Impressionist & Modern Art in London Total $194 million

Wolfgang Tillmans' First Major Exhibition in London Since 2003 Opens

Exhibition of the Contemporary Still Life at Galerie Lelong

Masterpiece London's Pioneering Event Attracts Outstanding Sales

Abstract Art in South and North America at the Amon Carter Museum

The Tell-Tale Heart (Part 2) at the James Cohan Gallery

MFAH Announces Exhibition from the National Gallery of Art

Pair of Imperial Porcelain Vases Highlight Sotheby's Treasures Sale

Richard Diebenkorn in Context: 1949-1952 at Leslie Feely Fine Art

CAC Málaga Looks at Issues of Authorship, Authenticity and Identity

Cabinets from Palazzo Featured in Film the Talented Mr. Ripley to Sell at Bonhams

Bill Hudson, Civil Rights Era Photographer, Dies

Robert Redford Wants Artists to Push Government

Mexican Intangible Heritage Displayed in Washington's National Mall

Smithsonian Magazine/Pew Research Poll about the Future Finds Widespread Optimism Despite Worries

Leading Tibetan Art Collector Gets 15 Years in Jail

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Neanderthals and humans were both living in Europe for between 2,600 and 5,400 years

2.- First major exhibition to explore the historical legacy of African cultural astronomy opens at LACMA

3.- Carlo Mollino's idealized vision of the female form in new book published by Damiani/Crump

4.- Tate Britain displays works by Frank Auerbach from the collection of Lucian Freud

5.- In grave robber territory, locals abuzz over Alexander-era tomb; Largest of its kind ever discovered in Greece

6.- Lambert Collection opens an ambitious project housed at the Sainte-Anne Prison

7.- Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore announces the first 18 artists in the CCA Residencies progamme

8.- Historic Kings Theatre is transformed into major New York Performing Arts venue

9.- Thirteen's American Masters Series co-produces new documentary about photographer Dorothea Lange

10.- Sotheby's New York to offer 548 Edward Weston photographs as a single lot this September

Related Stories



Important Judaica and Israeli & international art bring a combined $7.9 million at Sotheby's New York

Sotheby's New York to offer The Andy Williams Collection of Navajo blankets in May 2012

Buhl Collection brings $12.3M - Highest ever total for a private collection of photos sold at auction

'Casablanca' piano sells in NY for more than $600K

No bidder found for letters by 'Peanuts' creator

Sotheby's names President and CEO William F. Ruprecht as Chairman of the Board of Directors

Sotheby's announces first ever selling exhibition of contemporary art from central Asia and the Caucasus

Mick Jagger love letters written to American singer Marsha Hunt sold at London auction

House of Illustration raises 68,750 in "What are they like?" Celebrity Auction at Sotheby's London

Swiss contemporary art generates enthusiasm among collectors at Sotheby's



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site