Gallery Artists > John "Jake" Howland Biography :

John "Jake" Howland (1843 - 1914)  Artworks >>

Born in Zanesville, Ohio, John Dare Howland is claimed by Colorado art historians as the state's first resident artist. Early in his career he was a sketch artist and illustrator for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Magazine and Harper's Weekly, and after the Civil War he dedicated himself to fine art painting, with many of his subjects being buffalo, which he had seen in abundance on the Plains in the pre-railroad era of the West. John Howland Dare was the son of a riverboat captain, the grandson of founders of Zanesville, and had the same name as a pilgrim ancestor who crossed to America on the Mayflower. At age fourteen, he ran away from home and, "befriended by a fur trader who let him join the American Fur Company voyages, he traveled up the Missouri and Platte Rivers to the fur posts, and went on buffalo hunts, and traded with the Sioux Indians." (Samuels, p. 239) He became a great favorite of the Sioux, especially for his drawings on tanned animal skins and on their tepees. "He was a friend of the Sioux Indian "Rain in the Face", who was accused of killing General Custer's brother, Tom." (Harmsen, 104). On those trips, he survived two shipwrecks. A year later, in 1858, Howland went to Colorado for the first time and, seeking gold, he headed to the Pike's Peak mines but was unsuccessful. It was said that he became so desperate for money "that he often had to earn a few pennies for food by dancing a jig for the entertainment-starved miners." (Harmsen, 104) In 1861, as a Colorado volunteer in the Civil War, he fought in New Mexico, and rose to the rank of Captain of Scouts. He took part in the subsequent Indian wars. However, not neglecting his art talent, he used funds from his military duty to study for two years in Paris. There his teachers included Armand Dumaresq. From 1867 to 1869, he was appointed Secretary of the Indian Peace Commission with the assignment of negotiating peace with the Sioux Indians and other tribes. Among his published illustrations, both for Harper's and Leslie's, was his negotiated signing of the 1867 Treaty at Medicine Lodge, Kansas, in Barber County. The agreement was between the Peace Commission of the United States and the five tribes of the Plains Indians: Kiowa, Comanche, Kiowa-Apache, Arapaho and Cheyenne. Following this time of working, traveling, writing and illustrating, he spent another year in Paris. In 1873, he settled in Denver, and in addition to becoming a noted artist, was active in the cultural life of the growing city. In 1886, he founded the Denver Art Club and served as President, but dissention among the members led to its dissolution the following year. He died in 1914. Many of his buffalo paintings are in the Colorado Historical Society in Denver. Source

*Note: information presented on is subject to errors, omissions, price changes or withdrawal.