Phoenix Art Museum

photo by John Hazeltine

Phoenix, Arizona



How the West Was Drawn

May 20 - August 20, 2000


Since the earliest days of our nation's expansion, artists have been attracted to the spirited freedom of the American West. "How the West Was Drawn," on view in the Museum's second floor Orme Lewis Gallery May 20 - August 20, 2000, features about 40 works by famous - and some not so famous - American artists of the past two centuries, including Alexander Calder, Frederic Remington, William Victor Higgins, Charles M. Russell, Maynard Dixon, Marsden Hartley and Seth Eastman. These drawings, watercolors and prints are some of the highlights from the Phoenix Art Museum's collection of Western American art.

Both academically trained and self-taught artists traveled west, inspired by the "exotic" lives of nomadic fur traders, Native Americans, cowboys, ranch hands and settlers. The character of the West is found not only in the depiction of these rugged individuals, but in images of wild animals and the uncultivated wilderness. (left; Walter Paris, Salt Lake City and Wasatch,1873, watercolor on paper, Phoenix Art Museum Collection, Museum purchase with funds provided by Western Art Associates)

Realism, or portraying things as they appear in nature, prevailed in Western art. Some artists in the early twentieth-century, however, explored the potential of international modernist styles when approaching traditional Western subject matter. More recently, artists have examined the history of Western art itself, re-interpreting century-old themes. New or old, representations of the American West prove to be as varied as the region itself.

Read more about the Phoenix Art Museum in Resource Library Magazine.

Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

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

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 3/18/11

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