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Dave McGary (1958-2013)

What sets the sculptures of Dave McGary apart from others is spirit. He created incredibly lifelike bronze beings—and there is spirit for those who touch and see them. One collector said it best, "One does not simple purchase and own a Dave McGary sculpture. You and the sculpture live together."

We would like to thank everyone that has reached out to us. For those who have asked, you may support Dave’s commitment to educational opportunities through donations to the Chief Washakie Foundation, PO Box 901, Fort Washakie, WY 82514.

Thank you for your friendship and your support.

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Dave McGary, husband, father, friend and artist

“How would you like to be remembered?”

In a 2011 article in Southwest Art Magazine, Dave was asked, “How would you like to be remembered?”

"For having documented, with respect, the culture of Native American people. For being innovative and establishing my own techniques and style of work. I hope I have changed the way people look at bronze sculpture. For showing that there really are no limits in what is possible in bronze, that we can capture an amazing amount of detail and depth of color for another level of realism."

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Trophy Hunters

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"Trophy Hunters" announces a new chapter by acclaimed Master of Realism Dave McGary in depicting American Indians and the First Nations people of Canada. In this series McGary turns for a second time to the Woodland Tribes of the American Northeast and Southern Quebec, tribes whose rich histories include the critical roles they played in those regions during the mid-18th century. Only McGary's important piece "Emergence of the Chief" has portrayed the tribes of this region, who differ greatly – from their customs to their manner of dress — from American’s Southwestern tribes and those of the Upper Plains, the Upper Midwest and the Mountain regions.

"Emergence of the Chief" focused on the Mohawk Nation, while also paying homage to the other four Nations that made up the original Iroquois Confederation: the Cayuga, the Onadaga, the Oneida and the Seneca. "Trophy Hunters" again portrays members of the Mohawk Nation, but not in grand ceremony as in "Emergence of the Chief." Rather, the sculpture captures a moment in time as two Mohawk braves look into the early morning light, not knowing what the day would bring. Normally woodland hunters, today they are warriors and will seek trophies of war.

"Trophy Hunters" depicts September 8, 1755, the day the British mounted the Battle of Lake George as part of an overall campaign to keep the French from advancing farther into New York Province and ultimately expel them from North America in the early stages of the French and Indian War. Indians of various tribes were brought into the war as scouts and warriors, some aligned with the British and some with the French. The British forces were under the command of Major-General William Johnson, and consisted of British regulars, colonial militiamen and British-allied Mohawks. On the French side, Jean Erdman Baron de Dieskau commanded a force of French regular grenadiers, Canadian militiamen and French-allied Indians – both Caughnawaga members of the Abenaki tribe in that region. The day unfolded into a series of brutal and bloody engagements. It began with a French ambush in which British forces, including their allied Mohawks, were engulfed in a blaze of enemy musket fire and killed in such numbers that historians refer to it as "The Bloody Morning Scout." As Dieskau then planned his attack on William Johnson’s encampment, he was confronted by the shaken and demoralized Caughnawaga Mohawks who, after killing their own brethren in the earlier ambush, refused to fight further; the Abenakis and eventually the Canadians also refused. Advancing with only his French grenadiers, Dieskau was caught in the open where he and his forces were felled row-by-row by British canons filled with grapeshot. The day ended with one more ambush when the British attacked what some presume were retreating French, but who others believe were in fact the Caughnawaga Mohawk, Abenaki and Canadians who had refused to continue fighting with Dieskau. The many dead were thrown into a pool, which to this day is known as "Bloody Pond." Of the Indians who withdrew from battle that day to avoid any further bloodshed between tribesmen, some never fought again during the ensuing years of the war.

The only way to tell if these Mohawks were aligned with the French or with the British is their weaponry. The British forces carried a legendary and superior Land Pattern Musket colloquially known as the "Brown Bess," a flintlock barrel-loaded long gun ultimately used by land forces of the British Empire for over 100 years. The Brown Bess, with an overall length of some 60 inches, weighed over 10 pounds and used a 69 caliber musket ball. A practiced user could fire at a rate of 3 to 4 rounds per minute, inflicting the greatest damage when fired at 50 years but with accuracy up to 100 yards. The French weapon was far inferior and had neither the actual nor symbolic power of the Brown Bess. From this it is evident that the two Mohawks depicted in "Trophy Hunters" are fighting for the British. The standing warrior holds his Brown Bess at his side, at a height close to his own; the other crouches, leaning on his Brown Bess as the two await the day’s events.

Ultimately, the Battle of Lake George was seen as inconclusive given the loss of life on both sides. Its strategic importance, however, was clear: had they not been stopped at Lake George, the French would have continued their campaign further into New York, putting all of British-controlled New England in jeopardy. To the Mohawks the significance of the battle was of a much different nature. They had lost a substantial part of their population, and in the end they lost their land as well. The Battle of Lake George was a day of futility and sadness that pitted tribesman against tribesman with effects felt by the Mohawk Nation to this day.

Masterwork Bronze with Patina and Paint
Edition of 30, Sculpted in the Year of 2013

war paint
Mohawk hunter
Indian beaded knife
Native American blanket
Mohawk warrior

DAVE McGARY  •  "AMERICAN REALISM IN BRONZE"  •  LIMITED EDITIONS

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Battle At Bear Paw

Warrior Series

Colonel Nelson A. Miles left Fort Keogh on September 18 in pursuit of Chief Joseph with a force of 520 soldiers, civilian employees, and scouts, including about 30 Indian scouts, mostly Cheyenne but with a few Lakota (Teton Sioux). Some of the Indian scouts had fought against Custer in the Battle of the Little Big Horn only 15 months earlier, but had subsequently surrendered to Miles.

 

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Battle At Bear Paw
Native American Children Series
Bronze sculpture

Shows & Exhibits

VERY EXCITING NEWS!!! Dave McGary's bronze "The Providers" has been selected as the championship trophy to be given to the winner of the prestigious Big Cedar Lodge ~ Legends of Golf Tournament. The Tournament will take place on June 2-8th, 2014 and will be televised on the Golf Channel.

'Battle of Two Hearts video', select here.

 

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Dave McGary (1958-2013)

On Friday October 11th, the world lost a loving soul and one of its greatest artists with the passing David Dean McGary. Dave passed away at his home in Paradise Valley, AZ, with the two most important people in his life by his side: Molly McGary, his beloved wife of 18 years, and their 16-year-old daughter. He was 55 years old.

 

An artist of international renown, Dave McGary was above all else a devoted husband and father. In Idaho Dave enjoyed the family’s passion for fly-fishing. Both In Idaho and here in Paradise Valley, he was able to share his love for vintage cars with a core group of like-minded friends, and took pleasure in restoring rare pre-World War Two automobiles.

 

As an artist, Dave McGary has been at the center of the Western Art world for the past three decades. A sculptor of extraordinary talent, McGary’s career began at the age of 16 when he received a grant from Wyoming artist Harry Jackson to study bronze foundry techniques in Italy. During his two-and-a-half years in Italy, the young McGary learned the art of casting from the finest foundry workers in the world, craftsmen whose ancestors had cast the sculptures that grace some of Italy’s greatest cathedrals. “There Are No Limits” was the motto that McGary hung in his studio later in his career, challenging him to sculpt without the concern for the casting process. His understanding of bronze casting was second to none.

 

After returning to the United States, Dave made his home in Sante Fe, New Mexico, where he found his calling in depicting Native Americans in bronze sculpture. The relationships he forged with Native American students in Sante Fe eventually lead to opportunities for the artist to meet with tribal historians and learn the stories of the tribal families and their ancestors. The Native American community embraced McGary, and called him a “Spiritual Messenger” because he brought the pride, bravery and sacred awareness of each tribe to life in his work. It was also Dave’s gentle spirit and his respect for everyone he met that endeared him to so many in the Native communities across the United States and Canada.

 

The artist was a very private and humble person who let his work speak for itself, but his fame was wide and his accomplishments many. He gained international recognition for his works in bronze, and his sculptures are in private and public collections throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. McGary’s sculptures are in permanent collections at the U.S. Capitol Building’s Senate Statuary Hall, the Smithsonian Museum and the White House collection in Washington, D.C. In Wyoming alone his monumental works are placed at The Wyoming State Capitol in Cheyenne, the Buffalo Bill Historical Museum in Cody, The University of Wyoming in Laramie, the Governors Mansion in Cheyenne, and the at Shoshone Tribal Cultural Center in Fort Washakie. Other monuments are placed at The Houston Astrodome, the Eiteljorg Museum of the American Indian in Indianapolis, Indiana, The Shinnecock Native Culture Museum in New York, The McCord Museum in Montreal Canada, the J.W. Marriott Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, Arizona, The Mayo Clinic and Hospital in Scottsdale, The Gene Autry Museum in Los Angeles, California, The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado, and Concordia University in Montreal. McGary was selected as the only artist from the United States to have a one-man show in the “Art and Earth” exhibit during the United Nation’s 1994 “Year of the World's Indigenous People.” And earlier this year he was honored by the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia with a 30-year retrospective of his work titled “Native Expressions: Dave McGary’s Bronze Realism.”

 

But to McGary, more important than any honors or accolades were the relationships he developed over the years with the people he met because of his work. He cherished his friendships with collectors and with the tribal members who entrusted him to tell their stories. McGary’s commitment to education was strong: as a result of his involvement with the Shoshone community though the Chief Washakie projects, he and his wife Molly created The Washakie Foundation, donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of “Battle Of Two Hearts” sculptures to fund scholarships that enable Shoshone tribal members to attend the University of Wyoming.

 

The communities Dave McGary called home include Cody, Wyoming, where he was born on April 18, 1958; Paradise Valley, AZ. and Sun Valley, Idaho. He also had close ties to the province of Quebec, and to Montreal in particular as a result of his “Emergence of the Chief” project for Montreal’s Concordia University. Friends there have honored him by endowing “The Dave McGary Memorial Award in Fine Arts,” a scholarship that will be awarded to graduate level students studying sculpture and painting in the Fine Arts Department at Concordia University.

 

Creating Monumental Dreams
After The Ceremony - Native American bronze sculpture