We are now accepting pre-orders for the soon-to-be-released Henry Wheeler painting, “I knew how to handle a rifle.”
The painting is a collaborative project of the Northfield Historical Society, the Norman Oberto family, and artist Derk Hansen. The idea for the painting stems from events surrounding the Henry Wheeler collection being loaned to the Northfield Historical Society, which includes last year’s purchase by the Norman Oberto family of the Henry Wheeler collection and their subsequent loan of it to the society. The collection includes the .50 caliber Smith carbine that Wheeler used to wound Bob Younger and kill Clell Miller in the failed 1876 raid on the First National Bank by the James-Younger Gang.
“We were looking for a way to end this amazing year and Norman really enjoyed Derk’s early drawings of the raid,” explains Hayes Scriven, executive director of the society. “So we approached him to see if he was interested in a new project around the raid.”
Hansen — a western wildlife artist who identifies himself as a “cowboy” — has more than 150 limited edition lithographs and collector prints, plus several dozen limited edition collector plates to his credit. In 1983 Hansen, along with the Defeat of Jesse James Days Committee, created a set of seven pencil drawings depicting the historic raid. The last of those seven drawings was unveiled in 1990.
This new limited edition painting will celebrate the heroism of Wheeler, a medical student home on leave who witnessed the robbery unfolding in front of his father’s store. After alerting the other citizens by shouting “Robbery! Robbery!,” he grabbed a rifle, found a good vantage point, and played an important role in thwarting the outlaws.
In this painting Hansen captures the moment when Wheeler shoots Miller — a scene that flanks Wheeler’s portrait that was taken from an 1873 carte de visite.
The public will get the chance to bid on two artist proof prints of the painting at the Joseph Lee Heywood Distinguished Service dinner on September 9 at 5 p.m. at the Northfield Ballroom.
Orders can be placed at the Northfield Historical Society at 408 Division Street in downtown Northfield or at northfieldhistory.org