Nevada Museum of Art

Reno, NV



Edward Borein: On the Range

December 11, 1999 - February 6, 2000


The traditions of cattle ranching and the western buckaroo are explored in this exhibition of watercolors, etchings, drawings and memorabilia by artist Edward Borein, presented at the Nevada Museum of Art (NMA) from Saturday, December 11, 1999 through Sunday, February 6, 2000.

Along with friend and contemporary Charles M. Russell, Borein (1872-1945) was among the foremost interpreters of the Old West in American art and created works inspired by the experiences of the buckaroo and vaquero. (left: photo of Will Rogers, Fred Stone, Ed Borein at Rogers' home in Santa Monica, 1934)

Edward Borein: On the Range presents a broad selection of approximately 100 works highlighting Borein's long career as a cowboy artist and his understanding of the evolution of western history. Subjects include cowboys, vaqueros, rodeo stunt riders, Native Americans and California missions. Borein specialized in printmaking and watercolor painting, but also created works in oil as well as intricate miniature saddles, bridles and animals. The exhibit will also include many of Borein's personal artifacts such as his saddle, Mexican charro style parade suit, drawing table, etching press and several of the miniatures he produced later in his career.

Edward Borein was a self-trained artist and a native Californian. He was born in San Leandro near Oakland, where as a boy, he began to sketch and eventually served as an apprentice for a saddle maker. He studied for only one month at the San Francisco Art Association School before working as a vaquero on the large Spanish ranches of the area. His horse became his primary mode of transportation and he could rope, herd, and brand cattle alongside the skillful Mexican vaqueros still working in the far West. It was on the ranch that he would draw and sketch the postures, gestures, and costumes of the riders along with the characteristics of horses and cattle in motion. Throughout his career, most of his images retained the freshness of these on-site sketches. (right: Edward Borein, Cowboy Roping a Steer, 1919, oil on canvas, 20 x 24 inches)

Borein's first patrons were the publishers of 10-cent magazines such as Sunset or Colliers, who used his simple and direct drawings to illustrate popular western stories and advertisements. From 1907 to 1919, Borein resided mainly in New York City where he built contacts with dealers and with other artists, including Charles Russell. While in the city, he would draw upon prior experiences and used his wealth of old sketches to create new works. Borein periodically returned West, traveling through Western Canada and "Old Mexico" as well as Arizona and New Mexico. He brought these experiences to life again and again within the many paintings and prints created during this period.

Borein's career began to thrive when he moved to Santa Barbara, California in 1921. it was in Santa Barbara that he began his most intensive period of printmaking while experimenting with new inks and techniques. Borein sold the works from his downtown studio, greeting customers as the door while telling cowboy stories. He maintained a wide circle of friends including Charles Russell, Will Rogers, Leo Carrillo, Carl Oscar Borg, and Joe Delong (Charles Russell's only pupil). In addition to his own artwork, he practiced his leatherworking skills and produced numerous carefully worked miniature saddles, bridles, riatas, etc. At the time of his death in 1945, Borein had become a legend in Santa Barbara. (left: Edward Borein, Runaway Steer, watercolor, 14 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches, Courtesy of Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM)

Overall, the exhibition examines the cultural insights of the buckaroo and vaquero traditions. Through his work, Borein depicts a comprehensive understanding of the lifeways of the rural ranch hand.



The NMA has published a 64 page catalogue documenting the exhibition. The catalogue includes essays by Paul Starrs, professor of Geography at the University of Nevada, Reno, and Diane Deming, Curator at the Nevada Museum of Art, as well as color plates and reproductions of works featured in the exhibit. The catalogue is on sale in the NMA Museum Store.



This exhibition is made possible by a generous grant from the E. L. Wiegand Foundation. Additional support provided by The Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, KOLO News Channel 8, and the Nevada Appeal. Edward Borein: On the Range is organized in conjunction with the Santa Barbara Historical Society, Santa Barbara, California.



Also on exhibit during the Borein exhibition, NMA is presenting Dreamings: Suzanne Kanatsiz, generously supported by the Nevada Arts Council, University of Nevada, Reno and Nevada Museum of Art. (left: Suzanne Kanatsiz, The Inside Passage, 1995, 20 x 16 x 100 inches, mixed media installation)

Please also see our previously published articles: Edwin Borein: The Artist 's Life and Works (6/5/99), Edward Borein: The Artist's Life and Work (1/13/99) and Edward Borein (1872 - 1945)


Read more about the Nevada Museum of Art in Resource Library Magazine

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 11/26/10

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