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Explore: Soldiers Falling into Camp

Sitting Bull and the Plains Indian warriors gathered along the banks of Little Bighorn River did not panic when camp scouts reported the approach of the U.S. Cavalry. During a Sundance not long before, Sitting Bull experienced a vision of a great number of dead Union “soldiers falling into camp” from the skies. It was a sign, he felt, of a great victory to come.

“This painting, thanks to Daniel Long Soldier, has become a far more important piece than I could have imagined,” artist R. Tom Gilleon enthusiastically relates. “I had wanted to give an accurate depiction of the area where Custer met his end and tell some of the Little Bighorn story from the Indian’s point of view. Daniel’s Lakota Wicitowa (Lakota Paintings) of real warrior’s exploits, which I’ve used as the pictographs on the tepees, add a spirit to the piece that I couldn’t have achieved myself.

“The ribbon of river you see is the Little Bighorn. From a vantage point such as this, it would be hard to see the true size of Sitting Bull’s encampment. On the Plains, American soldiers were used to encountering villages of 50 to 60 lodges. In a landscape such as this, it’s easy to see why they would have had trouble seeing just how many Indians were waiting below.”

Gilleon’s previous editions of Tribal Tripartite and Shadow of the Sixth are Sold Out at Publisher. Soldiers Falling into Camp will certainly follow suit.

Sizing and Pricing:
Soldiers Falling into Camp


Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Giclée Canvas:

limited to 25 s/n. 74"w x 37"h (unstretched). $2950
includes Daniel Long Soldier's Day of Yellow Hair

Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Giclée Canvas:

limited to 50 s/n. 34"w x 17"h. $625

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About R. Tom Gilleon

“Looking back, I was probably most influenced by the old era art directors and illustrators who had the amazing ability to quickly and simply tell a story or convey a feeling with their artwork. I believe that this simplicity and strength is the key to fine art. Light, color, value, composition and line are paramount in importance.” – R. Tom Gilleon

R. Tom Gilleon’s art is hard to pigeonhole. His interpretations of the American West are genuine and unique. His representations of native teepees are archetypal and primitive in their basic forms yet they are remarkably contemporary in composition with a sprinkling of personal symbols and humor. Gilleon’s work is coveted by collectors, increasingly finding homes in prominent museums and auctions such as the Coeur d’Alene.

Gilleon was born in 1942 and raised in Florida by his grandparents in the tiny outpost of Starke, near Jacksonville and the storied banks of the Suwannee River. His grandfather had immigrated to the United States from Scotland and became a renowned cabinetmaker. His grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee.

Gilleon earned a scholarship to play baseball at the University of Florida where he took courses in architecture. He served in the Navy in the early 1960s and then worked as an illustrator for NASA’s Apollo space program. Eventually, he went solo as a freelance illustrator based in Orlando and was hired by The Walt Disney Corporation to deliver conceptual sketches and designs for its Disney World theme park. Later, he moved to California to work at Disney’s Imagineering studio which designed Epcot Center and then Gilleon assisted in the planning of Disneyland Tokyo, Disneyland Hong Kong and Disneyland Paris.

The American West left a mesmerizing impact on him as an artist. Gilleon and his wife first built a home along the Dearborn River in Montana, and later purchased a ranch near Great Falls not far from the legendary Old North Trail where native peoples traveled millennia ago from the Arctic to the desert Southwest. Here Gilleon found clusters of teepee rings from encampments which inspire him to contemplate how the camps might have looked centuries ago.


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