. Visitors often wonder how so many beautiful and meaningful objects come into the collections of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. The answer is simple – the amazing generosity of our community! The Museum’s latest acquisition, a stunning portrait titled Cheyenne by noted local artist Charles Craig ca. 1900, was a gift of the Adna and Joan Wilde Estate. The public is invited to view Cheyenne currently on exhibit in the main floor lobby at 215 S. Tejon, Downtown Colorado Springs.
Lt. Col. Adna G. Wilde (pictured bottom right) was the former director of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum from 1973 until 1981. During this critical time in our organization’s history, Wilde was responsible for overseeing the move of the entire Museum collection from its former home on Kiowa Street to the newly restored 1903 El Paso County Courthouse.
Wilde was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, on October 1, 1920, and graduated from The Citadel in 1943. After college, he joined the Army and served in the famed 10th Mountain Division. He was wounded in combat in Italy during World War II. Following the war he and his wife Joan lived all over the world as he continued his military career. They retired to Colorado Springs in the 1960s.
Adna Wilde died in November of 2008 at age 88, and his beloved wife Joan passed away just this past November, 2014. Lt. Colonel Wilde’s 10th Mountain Division artifacts, Joan’s collection of Japanese kimonos, and other items collected by the couple have been generously donated to the Museum. Both Adna and Joan treasured the recently donated Craig painting. It was known to be in their private collection for quite some time, and although it was previously exhibited in Amarillo, Texas as part of the Anschutz Collection, its entire provenance is unknown at this time.
About The Artist: Charles Craig was born in Morgan County, Ohio in 1846. Starting in 1865, Craig spent four years traveling up the Missouri River where he met many American Indian tribes and eventually reached Fort Benton, Montana. From 1872 to 1873, he had the opportunity to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia with Peter Moran, the younger brother of Thomas Moran. At the urging of painter John Dare Howland, Craig moved west and settled in Colorado Springs in 1881. For the next 50 years he was an important resident of the region. Craig traveled frequently throughout Colorado, and was a well-known visitor on the Southern Ute Reservation. The Utes referred to him as “Pink Face Charlie.” As noted in Nelson A. Rieger’s Charles Craig: Pikes Peak Indian Painter, Craig was renowned for the accuracy of his ethnological details of the Plains and Ute Indians. He was the first major artist to paint Taos in 1881 and Santa Fe in 1883. Unfortunately he lost his studio and many of his paintings in the Antlers Hotel fire of 1898. Craig died in 1931 after having lived most of his life in Colorado Springs.
For more information about the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, call 719.385.5990 or visit www.cspm.org.