Painting by William Tylee Ranney, Hunting Wild Horses, 1846. Signed bottom left. The wild horses of the West embodied the freedom of movement associated with life on the plains. At the same time, they were an economic resource. In 1846, one traveler described them as a “valuable article of export, as they are innumerable, and cost only the trouble of catching.” William Tylee Ranney’s painting embodies this tension between the notion of a wild West and one that has been tamed.
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