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A TENDERFOOT PAINTS AN ELK HUNT
October 22, 1962
When Exurbanite Artist Austin Briggs landed in Boise en route to join an elk hunt he wore his best London suit. A Chevalier du Tastevin, Briggs gamely gulped Thunderbird wine and coffee that resembled a roily river, struggled up and down mountains and finally made it back with these moody, incisive paintings
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October 22, 1962

A Tenderfoot Paints An Elk Hunt

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When Exurbanite Artist Austin Briggs landed in Boise en route to join an elk hunt he wore his best London suit. A Chevalier du Tastevin, Briggs gamely gulped Thunderbird wine and coffee that resembled a roily river, struggled up and down mountains and finally made it back with these moody, incisive paintings

"Waking up at dawn on the first leg of the hunt," Briggs said, "is like waking up at the bottom of a surrealist's fur-lined teacup. The firred mountains rise all about the flat bottom, and when the sun fills the cup it is as though the tea is draining away." After a few days it was no longer a cup of tea, and Artist Briggs had little feeling for simile. Riding a horse for the first time in 20 years, in pursuit of hunters pursuing elk (below) he was bucked off at a spot thereafter known as Briggs Flats.

One morning, following a spell of bad weather that kept them near camp fishing for steelhead and repairing their boat, the hunters set out into the mountains under a red sky portending snow. Briggs depicts what ensued on the following pages. Beyond the snow line they killed their elk and caped, or skinned, them. "The elks' last, dying plunges were clearly marked," Briggs said. "They had fallen over several logs in a strange, dignified pattern as though still insisting on their majesty." That evening the hunters grouped around the fire and talked of women and Khrushchev, neither of whom they could figure out. The elk were less trouble. Reduced to meat and antlers, they went down the mountain on muleback.

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