Collectors are surprised when they discover that Howard Terpning has depicted so few historically recognizable figures in his highly prized paintings of the Native American experience. “Legend of Geronimo” is only the second Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Edition that features such an identifiable tribal leader. “Chief Joseph Rides to Surrender,” released in 1982, was the other.
“Legend of Geronimo” was the second in our series of Personal Commission® Editions celebrating 30 years of publishing the art of Howard Terpning. The Apache warrior was born Goyathlay (One Who Yawns) but died Geronimo, a legend in his own time. In the 1850s, his mother, his wife and three small children were slaughtered while he traveled with others in his tribe to Old Mexico to trade.
His life became an arc of fierce defiance against soldiers and the settlers who colonized Apache territory. It was the Mexicans who called him Geronimo, Spanish for Jerome. There were periods of relative peace for Geronimo, but those were brief. He resisted attempts to move Apaches to the barren San Carlos reservation and twice left with small bands, once for ten years during which he conducted raids against white settlements. He kept 5,000 soldiers plus hundreds of Indian scouts busy for five months chasing him across 1,645 miles until he surrendered in Sonora, Mexico.
Enroute to the United States, Geronimo escaped again. He surrendered months later with a promise of a return to Arizona after a brief imprisonment in Florida, a promise that was not kept. After years of hard labor in Florida he was moved to Fort Sill in Oklahoma Territory.
Geronimo lived long enough to appear as the legend himself at fairs and parades, selling souvenirs. He dictated his memoirs which were published in 1906. He died at age 80 in 1909.