Brian Levine

P.O. Box 3048, Crested Butte, CO 81224-3048 USA

Specialists in Western Americana, literature, and quantum physics; with a particular focus on Colorado history and the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald

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PAINTING in the style of PHOTO-REALISM, LITERARILY, OR TROMP L'OEILL (whichever you prefer)

In Memory, May 29, 1939 - December 17, 2009



Entitled, "Davis Horse Whim"

An Original Oil Painting by George Foott

Completed October 2006



Dimensions: 14-1/2 inches by 13 inches


Note: Colorado Springs artist, Charles Craig, did a pen-and-ink drawing of the Buena Vista Mine cabinet card scene for an 1892 Colorado Midland promotional.

Mr. Foott has taken this motif to a greater photo-realist effect.

PRICE: $19,950.00



(George in his studio, Salida, Colorado.)

I’d like to say I always knew George Foott would become a remarkable artist.  But that wouldn’t be true.  We knew each other for a number of years – wow, now that I think of it -- it was way back in the Eighties when we were both in Victor , Colorado , and often in search of the same book, same historic artifact.  Of course, we each had our various reasons for wanting these: George for his art; me for my writing.  And that, on occasion, made us competitors.  I’m pleased to say we evolved out of that.  Well, maybe I haven’t – totally -- but George certainly has.

There were times when we went on hikes together, often with friends like Ken Schneider and Owen Fuhlrodt – both antique dealers.  That was because I often exhausted George with my incessant talk; and he claimed he needed others to go with us to give him a break from having to listen to me.  My problem was I had few people who shared similar interests; so, when I found George, and Ken, and Owen, I bored them to tears with my research and discoveries.

Fortunately, we all loved the history of the Cripple Creek Gold Mining District.  And that’s why we hung out together.  I don’t think to this day any of us really know why we were so obsessed with the place.  It might’ve been the history, and the legends, and all the intriguing characters associated with the great gold district.  And, of course, the multitude of old artifacts – books, photographs, maps, documents, and mining equipment – anything we could get our hands on.  Plus, the District was there, just hanging on the southwest face of Pikes Peak , and we could hike it, explore it, do archaeological digs, collect it, and fully immerse ourselves in every glorious bit of it.

We were just OCB, and did what we could to absorb and regenerate Cripple Creek ’s past.

I lived in Victor then, and George owned a small building on west Victor Avenue , between Second and Third streets.  He’d come up from Denver to work on his place; and when he had time, we’d head out on the history trail.  We’d hike up to the Independence Mine, or the Ajax , the Last Dollar, or Bull Hill and beyond.  I’d be talking all the way -- instead of listening -- and George would be thinking about how to lay out a pen and ink drawing.  Everything about the Cripple Creek District fascinated us, from its geology to its waste rock dumps, wood foundations to abandoned buildings, broken down ore carts to fragments of whiskey jugs; every bit a time traveler inspiring us with the resonance of past events and forgotten people.

I took to writing about Cripple Creek and its maturation from mining camp to gold district.  George expressed his passion for the place and its history in drawings and paintings.

George Foott was born in Seattle in 1939, went to the University of Washington , and studied Industrial Design.  Along the way, he filled his electives with art classes, history and other related interests.  By 1966, George had a degree in Mechanical Engineering and applied his talents in that discipline.  He moved to Denver in 1969 and became a professional designer of medical equipment.  In his spare time, he explored Colorado .  What else!  All of its history intrigued him, especially when he could find a fragment here and there; something he could own and hold and translate into a picture.

I grew up in Denver, often traveled to Aspen before there was an I-70; used a rope-tow to go up the slopes of Winter Park; searched for crystals in the Glory Hole above Central City; saw some of the early melodramas at the Imperial Hotel; campaigned for the winter Olympics in Colorado; thought Telluride and Mesa Verde a mystical distance away; and always wanted to live in a Rocky Mountain ski area.

But what thoroughly ensnared people such as George and myself was anything that excited, alluded to, inspired and promoted our romanticized visions of gold and silver mining in nineteenth-century Colorado .

Take the miner’s candlestick as an example.  It was an early form of lighting in underground mines.  At first, it was simply a utilitarian object; but over the years, the candlestick became fancy, more elaborate, and a thing of pride.  Its history became one of George’s first inspirations.  Not just any old plain Varney; but rather, the fancy and unique candlesticks forged by true craftsmen of the time.  George must’ve seen a bit of himself in each of the original candlesticks he owned because each showed up in one of his works.  In fact, they were some in his first pen-and-ink drawings.  He made cards with their images, and prints, and then full-fledged mining scenes.  George even fashioned shadow boxes around his favorite candlesticks, and then, in his distinctive calligraphy, recorded the history of each on the matting around it.

  Head frames and sheave wheels, ore carts and old wooden buildings were next; then there were railroad trestles, locomotives, stations and more.  In 1990, George took up oils and used that medium to add color and depth to his artwork.  Nine years later, George retired from his engineering career, sold his homes in Littleton and Victor, and moved to Salida , Colorado .  There, with his wife, Shirley, he continued to explore the Colorado Rockies and further develop his themes and painting style.

A certain type of still-life, photo-realism took hold in his artistry.  Not only did George get his inspiration from old photographs, usually albumen cabinet cards, pre-1910, by William Henry Jackson, Edgar Yelton, and A.J. Harlan; but, his paintings gained dimension, and shadows, and a sense of actual existence.  In fact, his paintings became so photo-real, dynamite plungers appeared ready to push and lunch pails full of warm food and horse whims in active use.

William Michael Harnett (Irish-born American Painter, 1848-1892), was one of George’s most powerful influences, and he regularly incorporated Harnett’s trompe l’oeil into his later paintings.  No question, George’s work fools the eye; not only because original photographs and magazine illustrations appear in his paintings, but also because George was able to paint them so life-like you believed you were holding those artifacts.  I could go on about George’s influences – Donald Clapper, Jerry Venditti, Chuck Sabatino, and William Acheff – but don’t want to get too technical here.  It’s better to say that George’s passion was beautifully reflected in his work.  He melded realism, history and emotion into astonishing, thought-provoking paintings.  The results make you wonder if you’re inside the painting or out.

During the last year, George spent a lot of time improving his ability to make rock surfaces and minerals come to life on his gesso-coated, masonite board.  The more he was intrigued about geology and minerals, the more he focused on reflecting his character in those painted images.  He was quite proud of the porphyry and phonolite he perfected in his painting, Davis Horse Whim, which portrayed not only his interest in minerals, but also his never-ending obsession with the Cripple Creek District.  He finished this painting months before cancer claimed him. 

George Foott’s work has been recognized by numerous organizations, exhibited in venues from Wyoming to Arizona , and awarded honors in Colorado .  But George doesn’t have to be concerned about continuing his quest for the most emotive still-life; he’s in every object he ever collected, every drawing he ever drew, and every painting he ever painted.

What’s more, I’m damned sure George just got another Cripple Creek book I’ve been searching for ages.

During his lifetime, George 60 to 75 oil paintings, none of which are known to be currently for sale.




Completed January 1999


Dimensions: 12 inches by 16 inches

Original subject, Western Story Magazine, Issue for October 22, 1925

PRICE: $17,950.00


FIRES IN THE TOWN OF CRIPPLE CREEK, Cripple Creek Gold Mining District, Colorado, 1896

Calligraphy, pen-and-ink drawing, and mount by the artist, George Foott.  Near fine condition.  Cabinet cards are original 1896 photographs, complete and have not been cropped; carefully placed with museum-mounting.  Original photographs by Edgar Yelton.

Please inquire



Please understand: we are a professional Company offering historic artifacts for sale.  We do not give free advice, issue appraisals, allow photographic duplication without payment, or work with consignment.  If you wish to sell us quality historic artifacts, you must submit precise digital photographs, thorough descriptions, and price you hope to attain.  If any of the aforementioned requirements are not included, your inquiry will be deleted.  Thank you for the respect of our 35 years experience.


"... But never again as during that all too short period when he and I were one person, when the fulfilled future and the wistful past were mingled in a single gorgeous moment -- when life was literally a dream...."  F. Scott Fitzgerald, from 'Early Success,' The Crack Up, October 1937

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