The famous “Last of the Buffalo” painting by Master Masonic Guild Artist Albert Bierstadt. Very Close friends with President Teddy Roosevelt, who together past a preservation law in the efforts to preserve the last remaing Yellowstone National Park bison. This is the painting that inspired the engraved 44-40 Winchester rifle that bears the Presidents name with a gold inlay. My research has provided many makers marks of the entire Ulrich family engraving this rifle. The Ulrich full name is also written out and John Ulrichs flawless punched “J” makers mark is found on the lever.
Albert and Teddy were associated with this wild life preservation of Bison with the famous hunting club the President founded named the “Boon & Crocket Club”. Thanks to the owner of the rifle, Charles Soter, we now have the origins connection of what inspired this Winchester rifle panel. Over the last couple years we knew the painting was associated to the rifles engraved design of the indian lancing the bison. What we did not know was the connection of the paintings artist Albert Bierstadt and the President, until Charles dove deep into the history of Albert and Teddy with their preservation work.
What we do know is the rifle had to be commissioned by the President with the Ulrich family from 1906-1915. We know there was a fire at the Winchester archives with this time line of gun and that the Olin company burned records to make room for new vast records in the 1960’s. Who is to say this rifle was not a factory custom engraved rifle for the President in his last years. Except, we can rule out all the mysteries and all the speculation for the fist time. Why can we rule all of that out now? Because this very important art design, like factory engraving designs, had a copyright. Where it was published in prints and in a book of the works if Bierstadt.
Note the buffalo skulls in both the painting and on the rifle, you only see a true Winchester bison skull on the later logo of Winchester firearms and never by the Ulrich’s until seen here on this priceless last of the Presidential Ulrich family engraved Winchester.
Not having a photograph with the President holding the rifle or not having the factory letter of the rifle existing. This evidence is the game changer because this art died out when it was engraved on this rifle. Western art historians mention that this art style was out of the picture by 1906. The Last of the Buffalo painting set a world record sale of Western art of the day for $50k. Such a sum was equivalent to several million dollars to todays money standard. What are the odds of Mr. Soter finding this information on this rifle, where this design was a copyright original by his good friend Bierstadt. Read the article of the painting below in the link.
Albert Bierstadt | HistoryNet