by Dorothy Oxborough? Nicholas de Grandmaison?
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AHWAHNEEE HOTEL ⎔ BOG OAK ⎔ COOPER’S HAWK ⎔ GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL ⎔ HOUND IN FIELD ⎔ IRISH SETTER ⎔ TATÂNGA MÂNÎ PORTRAIT
Same as Hound in Field.
IDENTITY – TATÂNGA MÂNÎ
Tatânga Mânî (Walking Buffalo, AKA George McLean–his adoptive name; 1871-1967) was a Stoney chief of the Bearspaw clan. Among other things, he witnessed the extinction of the buffalo, his namesake, and sure enough, that’s (almost) what Jack’s throwing the tennis ball at not long after the one time we see this image: a stuffed bison head (next to an indigenous mural, no less).
And while many of his life’s events feel noteworthy, check out this detail from the Alberta Champions website, about his life in 1958 (the year Hound in Field was painted): “In 1958 at the age of 87, Walking Buffalo did not feel he was too old to take on a whole new purpose for his life. He decided to work for change in the world through a change in people and started with the change needed in his own life. Letting go of his underlying hate and bitterness toward white people was the first step and it freed him to move forward to fulfill that new purpose. Describing the experience he said “As an Indian, I might have had great reason for hatred, but now I know that even I can forgive those who have wronged me.”“
Since a major subtext of The Shining is about walking the middle path, finding balance to your life, and balancing the many dualities that make up life, Mânî practically sounds like a Jedi master at the top of his practice, here. But that’s a matter of perspective – I could also see some regarding his many calls for peace and brotherhood as giving in too much to those who did indeed wrong him, and the natural world along with him.
Speaking of which, there’s a second portrait of a chief from the same band as Walking Buffalo: Chief Bear Paw. And my realization that Jack is clubbed by Wendy overtop Walking Buffalo…
…and that Hallorann is axed to death directly under Chief Bear Paw, is what lead me to realize one of the most complex theories my research has revealed.
IDENTITY – DOROTHY OXBOROUGH
It was recently brought to my attention by a fan of the site that there’s a very similar painting being sold on eBay right now, alongside a painting that is a clear ripoff of one of Oxborough’s Bearspaw children works. So my leading theory now is that the Mânî portrait was a work of Oxborough’s now lost to time.
That said, Nicholas de Grandmaison is definitely the artist behind the Chief Bear Paw painting, so what would it mean if the two Bearspaw chiefs were painted by different artists with the same style?
Coming up, we’ll see many, many portraits of the same clan by Dorothy Oxborough, and in an extremely similar art style. So, as much as people already think bears flood the film, they’re even more abundant than face value suggests. It’s almost like we meet the chief (in the same scene as Wendy meets Ullman…), and then we meet all the children—is there a logic in that? In fact, the next scene is Danny in the games room (meeting the “children”) followed by the walk to Suite 3, which includes Oxborough paintings just outside. And Chief Bear Paw is in the same hall as his final encounter with the twins, highly obscured by light glare.
IDENTITY – DE GRANDMAISON
Both he and his wife were Russian expats who had come to Canada separately, both to pursue their art careers. They made a living together painting children’s portraits, but decided to expand their craft, which lead to a lifetime of traveling to reservations and documenting indigenous life in Canada and America. By the end of his life he spoke several indigenous languages, and was awarded the Order of Canada, being considered a “prominent visual historian in Canada”. The Piegan peoples made him an honourary chief.
The name de Grandmaison (“of the Big House”) feels especially apt here: the lounge and the Overlook generally become like “prisons” for Jack’s mind.
I’ve written about this extensively elsewhere, but it’s worth noting here that Jack has a certain minotaur quality to him, so it’s apt, perhaps that a “buffalo” chief should underwrite his downfall, while a “bear” chief should overwrite the downfall of one of Danny’s protectors.
Also, this piece appears only in conjunction with a Colville painting, and I have a theory about how the Colville Indian Reservation is a likely subtext at play here.
Next art reference: Jackson Hole Poster?
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