4/24/09

WM. Standing • William Standing • FIRE BEAR

In 1949 my folks drove my maternal grandparents from Harrisburg, PA to my folks house in Chula Vista, CA in a 1947 Oldsmobile along Route 66. Along the way my grandmother bought all sort of touristy items, mostly salt and pepper shakers to add to her collection. She also, or maybe it was my grandfather...yeah, mostly likely Pap Pap, bought postcards. 

There is a series of cards shown below done by WM. Standing. On the back it says "From an original etching by WM. Standing, noted Indian artist" and was published by Western Stationery Co., Yachats, Oregon (click on image above to see back of card). They're the typical type of sex and bathroom humor cards that always seemed available when traveling. I remember being in a Stuckey's in Georgia in 1988 and finding a whole rack of weird risqué cards, but they were really disgusting. These cards have a certain fun charm.

Over the years I wondered who WM. Standing was. I'd type in this name online and nothing would show up except for other examples of his postcards for sale on ebay. Then the light bulb broke over my head and I typed in "William Standing" and quite a few things showed up. 

William Standing, or Fire Bear as he preferred to be known, was born on July 27, 1904 on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and died June 27, 1951 in an auto accident. To read more about him click HERE. He sounds like he was a pretty interesting fellow:
"William Standing lived in Oswego. Attached to his cabin, he had a sixteen foot by sixteen foot addition with three shelves on each of the three walls. He would mix up one color and go around the room applying that color as needed to each of the canvases on the shelves."

"At present he works for the Western Stationery Co. at Poplar, Montana, illustrating stationery with a western motif and making comic cards. In his spare time, Mr. Standing studies nature and his own people and looks to them for subject matter. His palette reflects his soul, and his soul relects his love for all living things."

References are made to his paintings, but I've yet to find one. The only other item illustrated by him that I've found is a book called "Land of Nakoda: The Story of the Assiniboine Indians" originally published in 1942. I see that copies are available online used for 200 to 400 dollars. A reprint was issued  in 2004 by Riverbend Publishing. I've put a link in the left column. I haven't seen any of the illustrations from within, but from the skill shown in his line work in the postcards I think with a serious subject matter it might be well worth seeing.

Click on any image below to see it larger.
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WM Standing_1_tatteredandlost

WM Standing_4_tatteredandlost

WM Standing_8_tatteredandlost

WM Standing_5_tatteredandlost

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