About the Project
Ralph Albert Blakelock (1847-1919) has largely been remembered for his romantic landscapes of the American West, especially those of Indian encampments and moonlight scenes. Many of Blakelock’s works are in collections of the world’s museums and in the hands of private collectors. Though he himself rarely made much money from his paintings, those that were resold by collectors during his lifetime brought record prices on the art auction markets. The remarkable popularity of his work led to an unprecedented number of forgeries, and it is sometimes said that his work may be the most often forged of any artist.
In an effort to distinguish between the real Blakelocks and the forgeries, this site makes available some of the Nebraska Blakelock Inventory, now in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Archives & Special Collections. The Nebraska Blakelock Inventory represents forty years of research at the university by Norman Geske, emeritus director of UNL’s Sheldon Museum of Art. In this pilot web site, the Nebraska Blakelock Inventory Category I works-- ones for which clear provenance exists-- are now searchable. Other categories will be added in time. The site’s wider scope is to provide additional resources on Blakelock’s life and work.
With recent exhibitions at the Sheldon Museum of Art and at the National Academy of Design in New York City, and with the publication of several book-length works on his art and madness, new ways of looking at Blakelock and his influence on American art are possible.