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Indepth Arts News:

"Painters and the American West: The Anschutz Collection"
2001-11-03 until 2002-01-20
Joslyn Art Museum
Omaha, NE, USA United States of America

The American West — with its majestic mountain peaks, vast rolling plains, and winding rivers — has long enchanted artists. Painters and the American West: The Anschutz Collection features 78 extraordinary paintings by some of the best known artists who portrayed this incredibly beautiful, fascinating region.

Spanning nearly 150 years of American history, the exhibition is drawn from the distinguished collection of Philip Anschutz, who holds the most important assemblage of Western art in private hands. Included in the exhibition are notable works by the first artist-documentarians, artists whose intention it was to produce a record of America's vast wilderness and its native peoples. Joslyn’s audience will recognize those by George Catlin and Alfred Jacob Miller, since these artists are prominently represented in the Museum’s collection. Less familiar are paintings by John Mix Stanley and Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait, the latter a brilliantly colored depiction of Trappers Following the Trail.

A group of grand (and often highly idealized) landscapes by artists such as Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran were meant to awe the viewer, and still accomplish that end. The nostalgia and drama of images by Charles Marion Russell, Frederic Remington, and Charles Shreyvogel played a major role in the creation of the romantic myth of the West, as did the shimmering, light-filled canvases of the Taos Society of Artists: Ernest Blumenschein, Victor Higgins, Walter Ufer, and others.

In the 20th century, Modernist and contemporary approaches to art informed the work of those who painted the West, from Georgia O’Keeffe to Fritz Scholder. Works by all of these artists are to be expected in any overview of Western American art. The Anschutz Collection also includes surprising works by artists whose names are rarely associated with the region, but who nonetheless painted some amazing Western subjects, fictional and real. Asher B. Durand is most associated with the Hudson River School, but he painted a poetic, imaginary Indian Rescue in 1846. John Sloan is known for his gritty urban scenes, but for years he divided his time between New York City and Santa Fe, where he painted sunnier images, such as the Chama [River] Running Red (1925).

Walter Ufer
Autumn, c. 1920,
oil on canvas

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