From the time Joseph Henry Sharp was a small child, he had a fascination with the West. Through the Leatherstocking Tales by James Fenimore Cooper and seeing "the noble red man" at the Ohio Railway Station, Sharp developed a permanent interest in Indian culture. At the age of fourteen, an accident left him deaf and in his mother's care. She became his teacher and encouraged him to develop his artistic talents. His mother was so confident of her son's growing talent that she submitted some of his drawings to the McMicken School of Design at the University of Cincinnati. So impressed were they by Sharp's talent, he was admitted into the school despite his young age. Sharp was fully absorbed by his studies and inspired by his new surroundings. The art community was flourishing in Cincinnati and had drawn to it many great artists like Frank Duveneck, Robert Blum, Kenyon Cox, Edward Potthast, and Henry Farny. Farny was already using Indian subjects in his paintings and gained the immediate attention of Sharp. He tried to dissuade Sharp from going West by telling him of all its great dangers. This only served to fascinate the young artist and in the spring of 1883 he set off on his first journey west. He traveled and sketched Indian tribes in New Mexico, California, and the Northwest. Understanding that this was a disappearing culture, he made his studies as scientifically accurate as possible. To further his training he made another trip to Europe in 1886. Sharp studied in Munich with Karl Marr and traveled to Italy and Spain with his good friend and Master Painter Frank Duveneck. Upon returning to Ohio in 1892 he taught painting for ten years at the Cincinnati Art Academy. Feeling the pressure and noise of a rapidly growing city, Sharp began making trips to the Southwest more frequently. Having spent consecutive summers sketching Indians, and winters completing the paintings, he decided to move to Taos. He is considered the "father of the Taos art colony" where he became a permanent resident in 1912. His works are held by the Amon Carter Museum, Wyoming State Art Gallery, Bradford Brinton Memorial, Houston Museum of Fine Art, Museum of New Mexico, Cincinnati Art Museum, University of California, Smithsonian Institute, the Anschutz Collection and many other important private collections throughout the world.