Chief Washakie Paintings See Daylight Again After Decades In Storage

Mar 14, 2014

An old postcard of the Noble Hotel’s ‘Indian Room.’
An old postcard of the Noble Hotel’s ‘Indian Room.’

Paintings of Chief Washakie that have spent more than 40 years in storage are now on display in the Capitol Rotunda in Cheyenne. The 24 pieces by western artist J.K. Ralston were originally commissioned for the dining room of the Noble Hotel in Lander in 1945.

They depict scenes from the life of the Eastern Shoshone chief, including battles, encounters with white settlers, and treaty signings that are part of Chief Washakie’s legacy of diplomacy and peace.

Wyoming State Museum Education Curator Nathan Doerr says the collection tells a sweeping story of the American West.

“The fascinating thing about the pieces is viewed independently, they're fantastic, the artistic scale that Ralston had is wonderful. But you look at them as a whole collection and they really do tell an amazing story of the early west, the early Wyoming.”

The paintings remain on display through November.