Troy Denton – American Artist – Copyist

Troy Denton oil painting, Chief in Headdress Superimposed over an Encampment

p4A ItemID D9849457
Troy Denton oil painting, Portrait of an Indian Chief

p4A ItemID D9827255
Troy Denton oil painting, Portrait of an American Indian

p4A ItemID D9738858
American Indian portrait by Troy Denton, oil on canvas, signed in the lower right

p4A ItemID D9730295

Troy Denton

It is believed that the name Troy Denton is a cover name for a copyist, especially of work by Howard Terpning.

The following article is reproduced with permission from Maine Antique Digest (http://www.maineantiquedigest.com).

Who Is Troy Denton?

Will the real Troy Denton please stand up?

The 24 inches x 36 inches oil on canvas was offered as lot 50 at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries in Thomaston, Maine, on February 26. Troy Denton is the name painted in the signature block of a fine painting depicting three Native Americans on a hill using two arrows as a rest for a buffalo rifle. The 24 inches x 36 inches oil on canvas was offered as lot 50 at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries in Thomaston, Maine, on February 26.

The picture brought $5,225. It might have brought a lot more had not a sharp-eyed collector noted to the auctioneer that it bore an amazing resemblance to The Long Shot, a picture by well-known cowboy artist Howard Terpning, a picture reproduced on a poster issued in conjunction with the Cowboy Artists of America Museum in Kerrville, Texas. According to auction records in Leonard’s database, Terpning’s pictures have brought as much as $357,000. The high for Denton was $1,320.

Auctioneer Kaja Veilleux disclosed the doubts about Denton at the auction and said he still guaranteed the work as a genuine Troy Denton.

But, again, who is Troy Denton?

Our quest led us to Bob Drummond, head of the Coeur d’Alene Art Auction in Hayden Lake, Idaho. His firm sold the $357,000 Terpning painting in 1997. Bob said he had heard of Denton but had never sold a picture by him. He referred us to his partner Stewart Johnson, who had acted as an agent for Howard Terpning.

Johnson said he doubted whether Denton was a real person. “He may be a name used by an Oriental sweatshop. I think the Greenwich Workshop [printer of Howard Terpning's prints] got a cease and desist order against him, forbidding him from copying Terpning’s work.”

Ellen Woodward at Greenwich Workshop said she had heard the company had gotten a cease and desist order some years ago, but she had no record of it. “I think we went after him internationally, but we never could locate him,” she told M.A.D.

We called several Troy Dentons we found in a CD-ROM phone disk. One woman in Texas said we had the wrong number, “but I’ve had calls like this before. Somebody must be looking for him.” An answering machine in Montana drawled, “I’m out herdin’ my critters, but if you leave a number, we’ll call back.”

We’re still waiting.

copyright 2000 by Maine Antique Digest


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