John Stryker Bull Photographs, ca. 1945
About three or four years ago, my wife and I went to a book and paper show, and upon buying a ticket you were entered into a raffle for a door prize, and lo and behold, we won a $50 gift certificate. We spotted these two photographs. We decided on the larger one because we had just bought a new house, needed some art to put on the wall. Also, it reminded me of my father because like my father, grandparents ran a cattle farm. I always remember my father having a portrait of a prized bull on his desk.
So I had that connection. Bought it for $50, took it home, eventually looked up the name, Stryker, Fort Worth. Saw, oh, this guy's kind of well known. So few weeks later, called up the dealer and said, "Hey, we'll take the other photograph." And so we bought this one for approximately $100, I think. Since then, a few years, went on to buy these other two photos online.
Well, let me tell you something about John Stryker. He was an extremely interesting man. He was born in Rockford, Illinois. Believe it or not, he studied penmanship.
After studying penmanship, he went on to study photography, moved to Fort Worth, Texas, and started doing rodeo photography. The legend is that he had a camera strapped to his boot and he would lay down in the arena and take the pictures so the bull looked like it was actually flying. Super locomotion, it's way up in the air and the cowboy is doing the best he can to stay on. He would, after the rodeo, post these on a board and sell the photographs to the cowboys. So a lot of the photographs are not really in great condition, although this one happens to be. Now, this photograph is interesting because it shows the theatrics and circus-like atmosphere of a rodeo. You have a... probably a clown dressed up as a matador to keep the bull from goring the cowboy. He's highly collectible. There's just not a huge amount of them out there that are in decent condition because they were owned by cowboys and nailed up to their wall. This particular photograph is in really good condition. I'm going to value this photograph at $1,500. I'm going to value the smaller photograph at probably $500.
Now, the two bull pictures are very unusual. At retail, the pair of them are $1,500.
Wow. I had no idea. (chuckling) Well, they just hang on our walls, we enjoy them no matter what. But no idea they were worth that much.
Such a big tie to Stryker and Fort Worth. That's why I'm so happy that you brought these in, it's really a great connection.
Well, we're in cow town.
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