David K. Stone (American, 1922 – 2001) “Trading in Santa Fe” Signed lower right. Original Oil painting on Canvas.
Provenance: Collection of James A. Helzer (1946-2008), Founder of Unicover Corporation.
This painting originally appeared in the Fleetwood Trails West Collection of Fine Art Prints as “Trading in Santa Fe” published in 1983.
Founded in 1609, Santa Fe served as a northern outpost of New Spain for more than two centuries. It remained isolated from the United States until 1821, when a handful of merchants moving westward forged the Santa Fe Trail. Sharing unknown risks, these few courageous men loaded their merchandise on pack animals and successfully completed the trip to Santa Fe in four months. After selling their merchandise at a handsome profit, they quickly returned home to prepare for a return trip. Encouraged by the reports of success, more merchants headed west to Santa Fe to profit from the newly discovered trade center. In Sante Fe, the cargoes of textiles, lead, hardware, cutlery, glassware and many other items were traded for silver, mules, pelts and hides, blankets and other items that were in demand in the East. This “commerce of the prairies” thrived in spite of the hostile Indian tribes of the Southwest, burdensome duties, wagon tolls and official graft, in addition to the normal problems of trade. Indeed, from 1822 a Santa Fe trade existed that changed the history of the Southwest. Trappers and fur traders now worked out of Santa Fe to gain access to the southern Rockies — rich in beaver and other wildlife. These mountain men, too, became an integral part of the trading business in Santa Fe.
Overall Size: 18 x 21 in.