Tyler Museum of Art

Tyler, Texas




Artists of the American West

Beginning September 2, 1997 visitors to the Tyler Museum ofArt can expect to see Indians, trappers, traders, settlers, Pony Express riders, and railroad construction illustrated in hand-colored lithographs and wood engravings in an exhibition titled Artists of the American West. These works are by world-class artists such as Karl Bodmer, George Catlin, Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Remington, John J. Audubon, John Mix Stanley, and others. The exhibition will run through October 5, 1997.

The art ofthe American West constitutes a special chapter in our cultural history. It is inseparable from the history ofthe frontier during a period of something less than the hundred years that it took to explore the rivers, cross the mountains, and find the way to the Pacific Ocean. As an artistic phenomenon, it also has its beginning and end within that same relatively short period oftime. The traditions of landscape and portrait painting, as derived from European precedents, were applied to the subject matter ofwestern America, a landscape and a culture hitherto unknown. From such subject matter were created images that embody the energy and optimism inherent in the expansion of American society into the West.

The artists who created these images were participants in the discovery of a "new world", an experience in large part unprecedented and rich with the romantic elements of danger and the exotic. It is interesting to note, however, that their declared intentions were more objective. They wished to record what they rightly perceived to be a vanishing way of life. Documentation was the basic justification for their involvement in the various expeditions into the wilderness, whether scientific or commercial.

This collection of prints provides a vivid picture ofthe American West at a time when the native cultures were beginning to feel the impact of the advance ofwhite settlers. Additionally, it presents the artistry of many of the first artists to work west of the Mississippi. It is an impressive demonstration ofthe role ofthe graphic artist in establishing an image ofthe American West.

Artists of the American West is toured under the auspices of ExhibitsUSA with the Texas Commission on the Arts.

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

Be sure to visit more of Resource Library Magazine with articles and essays on American art, calendars, and much more. Here are links to selected sections of the magazine:

Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.

This page was originally published in 1997 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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