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Z.S.  Liang - Sitting Bull's Kindness, Philadelphia, 1885 -  MASTERWORK CANVAS EDITION Published by the Greenwich Workshop

          Sitting Bull's Kindness, Philadelphia, 1885
by Z.S. Liang

Original Retail Price $950.00

Limited Edition of: 25
Image Size: 40"w x 28"h.
Published: September 2018

Excerpts from An Act of KINDNESS Using history as his guide, painter Z.S. Liang presents a marvelous picture of Sitting Bull in Philadelphia By Dan Corazzi – Published in Western Art Collector June 2018

Z.S. Liang, right, discusses his painting with

Ernie LaPointe, Sitting Bull’s great-grandson.

A rough pencil sketch drawing of Sitting Bull’s

Kindness, Philadelphia, 1885 done on 12 by 17

inch paper.

Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Z.S. Liang to talk about his latest historical painting. The subject of which is Sitting Bull, the renowned Chief of the Lakota Sioux Indians. Sitting Bull, of course, is best known by most for “Custer’s Last Stand” and the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876. That battle, which pitted the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians against the U.S. Cavalry, resulted in the death of Gen. George Custer and most of the men in the 7th Cavalry. Because of this Sitting Bull is often depicted, in portraits, as a strong warrior—wearing a large headdress or a single feather at the back of his head. So, when I initially saw this new painting, I was naturally intrigued by the way in which Z.S. decided to portray Sitting Bull in this historical setting. That is why even before viewing the painting, if you just hear or see its title, Sitting Bull’s Kindness, Philadelphia 1885, you immediately have a sense that you are going to experience something very different about Sitting Bull when you see the painting.

Following the Battle of the Little Bighorn, and although Sitting Bull didn’t take part in the actual battle, he and his small band of about 200 Lakota Sioux fled the United States for Canada. But after spending four years there trying to live on meager food supplies, they were starving, so Sitting Bull and his band returned to the United States in 1881. Upon his return, he surrendered to the U.S. Army and he was then kept, for two years, as a prisoner of war at Camp Randall in South Dakota. After his time at Camp Randall, Sitting Bull was allowed to live at the Standing Rock Reservation, in an area between North and South Dakota. In 1884, Sitting Bull was granted permission to take several trips away from the reservation. On one of those trips he attended a Wild West show in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he saw Annie Oakley performing her shooting skills routine. Sitting Bull was impressed with Annie’s shooting and he said that she reminded him of his daughter, so he requested to meet her. Afterward, he asked Annie if he could adopt her and without hesitation, she agreed. Sitting Bull gave her a Lakota name, Watanya Cikala, which meant “Little Sure Shot.” He also gave her a pair of beaded moccasins as a gift.

The following year, Sitting Bull was, again, allowed to leave the reservation to join up with Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show. From June 1885 to October 1885, the show toured many of the major U.S. cities, including Philadelphia, where the local newspaper described Sitting Bull as “the celebrated chief of the Sioux Indians.” He was even characterized, in another publication, as “someone who was our foe in 1876—but is now our friend in 1885.” When Sitting Bull arrived in the various cities with the Wild West Show, he was a very popular attraction, so much so that people would line up to meet and pay him $2 to get his autograph. During his research for this painting, Z.S. was told by Sitting Bull’s great-grandson, Ernie LaPointe, how he learned—from the oral history passed down through his family—that his great-grandfather was shocked by the poverty that he saw in the cities, especially when he saw children begging. Because of this, Ernie said that his great-grandfather gave all the money that he made from those autographs to the “ragged-looking white children” whom he encountered on the streets. Unbeknown to Sitting Bull, the 1880s was a time of great poverty for many of the newly arrived immigrants who were living in the large cities. That was something Sitting Bull couldn’t fully comprehend because Lakota children were nurtured, always well cared for and they were taught not to be beggars. As a result, LaPointe said that his great-grandfather could never completely understand why the “white people” would neglect their children so badly and allow them to become beggars.

Z.S. Liang
Z.S. Liang, born in China in 1953 and raised in a family of artists, published his first painting at age 6 in a children’s magazine. His art education spanned two continents, beginning at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing and continuing to the Massachusetts College of Art and Boston University. His award-winning paintings hang in both corporate and private collections around the world and several of his murals are permanently on display in New York City. His works are in corporate and private collections throughout the United States and many other countries, including Sheraton Corporation, Marriott Corporation, Weseda University Tokyo and the West Point Museum. Among the many awards Liang has received are the Best of Show and People’s Choice at the American Society of Portrait Artists, the Arthur Ross Award for Painting at the Classical America New York, and the Lila Acheson Wallace Award for Painting at the Society of American Illustrators. Liang’s paintings have been featured in the Artist’s Magazine and the International Artists.


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