Bison producers hunt for wagon trek painting

It’s a bit of a bison mystery.

An original oil painting created after a wagon trek held in 2000, in conjunction with the International Bison Conference, has gone missing.

The Last Great Buffalo Wagon Trek, a 48 by 30-inch oil painting by Wayne LaLiberte, once hung in a Leduc, Alta., boardroom shared by the Bison Producers of Alberta. But after several office moves, the painting went astray and the BPA is now wondering about its whereabouts.

BPA office manager Linda Sautner has put the word out in the organization’s regular emails but so far that hasn’t brought the painting back into light.

“It’s been pointed out to me that in all likelihood the person who may have it isn’t a bison producer any longer, isn’t getting my emails, isn’t on my list serve and probably isn’t aware that this quest is happening,” said Sautner.

The original painting was auctioned off in 2001 and the successful bidder donated it to the BPA to adorn its boardroom.

After a recent query from that benefactor, Sautner started her efforts to locate it.

There were 20 “artist’s proof” editions made of the painting, which sold for $270 each, as well as 200 limited edition prints offered for $135 each, said Sautner.

“All I have is the limited edition prints now and I’ve got maybe 100 left of those and a lot of them were donated to different charity functions.”

The painting is LaLiberte’s rendition of a historical prairie trek featuring covered wagons and grazing bison.

The actual 2000 trek was an attempt to recreate a 19th century pioneer wagon trek. Some 250 people, 120 horses, 45 wagons and a stagecoach travelled 56 kilometres along Alberta’s Smoky River in a journey that took four days.

Anyone with information about the original painting that commemorated the trek can call Sautner at 780-995-1995 or email her at linda@bisoncentre.com.

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