NATIONAL COWBOY & WESTERN HERITAGE MUSEUM
1700 N.E. 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73111
The William S. and Ann Atherton Art of the American West Gallery contains outstanding examples of paintings and sculpture from the more than 2,000 art pieces (or items) in the museum collection. Beginning with the 18' tall marble Canyon Princess by Gerald Balciar at its entrance and continuing with Albert Bierstadt's Emigrants Crossing the Plains, and William R. Leigh's The Leader’s Downfall, representing the more monumental presentations, this 15,000 square foot gallery is packed with art that delights the eye and overwhelms the senses.
The cornerstone of the museum's historical collection of western art lies with a significant group of paintings and sculpture by Charles Marion Russell and Frederic Remington. Russell's art includes Red Man's Wireless, Smoke Talk, When Mules Wear Diamonds, and a host of other works. Remington is represented by several bronzes including Bronco Buster, Coming Through the Rye, and his only one-of-one, The Buffalo Signal, as well as by such paintings as In From the Night Herd and Hunter’s Camp in the Big Horns. Almost 100 works by these masters of the western art form adorn the walls of this gallery.
Historical western art continues in the gallery with scores of other artistic presentations that range from Charles Shreyvogel, Henry F. Farny, and Olaf C. Seltzer to Solon Borglum, Frank Tenney Johnson, and Phillip R. Goodwin. Additionally, the brilliant coloration and New Mexico subject matter of the Taos Society of Artists is represented with outstanding paintings from its original members including Walter Ufer, Ernest Blumenshein, Bert Phillips, Oscar Berninghaus, Joseph H. Sharp, E. Irving Couse, Nicolai Fechin, whose studio is reproduced, and others. The totality of the art in this gallery, produced between the early 19th century and continuing through the fourth or fifth decades of the 20th century, traces the development of the western genre in American art with some of the best examples on permanent exhibition.
The Art of the American West Gallery also contains the finest collection of contemporary western art in the nation. Since 1973, the museum has purchased the best art piece at each of its annual Prix de West Invitational Exhibition and Sale events. Using this as a nucleus, it has added significantly to this outstanding beginning. Prominent among the artists included in this group are Wilson Hurley, Howard Terpning, Bettina Steinke, Tom Lovell, Clark Hulings, Gerald Balciar, Kent Ullberg and a long list of others. As younger artists appear and the Prix de West purchase list grows longer, the collection grows larger. Over time, this contemporary art collection will become to a future generation what the giants of a century ago are to art collectors today.
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