Art and the Bronco (Henry)

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Art and the Bronco
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A cowboy artist's painting, depicting a stampeding steer, gains recognition and potential purchase by the state due to his famous grandfather's legacy, but the artist decides to reject the state's offer.

In a small town in the West, a young artist named Lonny Briscoe creates a painting that captures the attention of the local legislature. The painting, a depiction of a stampeding steer, is hailed as a masterpiece and is displayed in the Capitol building.

Lonny Briscoe — Boy Artist of the San Saba; grandson of Lucien Briscoe; brown, solemn-faced, ingenuous, bowlegged, reticent.

Senator Kinney, a powerful figure in the legislature, champions the painting and convinces his colleagues to appropriate funds to purchase it.

Senator Kinney — powerful senator; champion and sponsor of Lonny's painting; bronco-buster; strong-willed, persuasive.

Senator Mullens, representing the San Saba country where Lonny is from, also supports the purchase.

Senator Mullens — senator representing the San Saba country; lukewarm supporter of Lonny's painting; shrewd, calculating.

The painting is seen as a tribute to Lonny's grandfather, Lucien Briscoe, a revered figure in the state's history. However, as the day for the bill's introduction approaches, Lonny begins to doubt the artistic value of his painting. He seeks the opinion of a famous artist visiting the town, who tells him that the painting is not a work of art but a gun to hold up the state for money. Lonny is disheartened and decides to ride into the Capitol on his horse, tearing through the painting and renouncing any claim to the state's money.

That was a fine speech you made today, mister, but you might as well let up on that 'propriation business. I ain't askin' the state to give me nothin'. I thought I had a picture to sell to it, but it wasn't one.

He and his fellow cowpunchers ride off into the night, leaving behind the shattered remains of Lonny's artistic aspirations.