Phoenix Art Museum

Phoenix, Arizona


34th Annual Cowboy Artists of America Sale and Exhibition


The jingle of spurs as a cowboy mounts his horse; the bawling of cattle on a long trail drive; authentic details from Native American history; the raw power of an untamed bronco. These are some of the many impressions that Western Art enthusiasts can experience when the 34th Annual Cowboy Artists of America Sale and Exhibition returns to the Phoenix Art Museum, Oct. 23 - Nov. 21, 1999. Each year, nearly 1,000 collectors from the United States and abroad converge on the Phoenix Art Museum to take part in what has become the most prestigious Western Art event in the United States. (left: Ray Swanson, Real Cowboys Eat Cowboy Chow, oil, 24 x 30 inches, 1999 © CAA)

"We are excited to once again offer art lovers a chance to visit the West and have an opportunity to purchase art from the world's leading Western painters and sculptors," said Jim Brophy, show chairman. "The focus on Western Art is particularly appropriate as the millennium ends and the era of the cowboy recedes into history." (right: Howard Terpening, Nine Days to the Nearest Fort, oil, 32 x 50 inches, 1999 © CAA)

Expected to top last year's total of more than $2 million, the 34th Annual CAA Sale will take place on Friday, Oct. 22. The Sale and Exhibition will feature nearly 150 works of Western Art by the CAA's 26 active members and several of the group's distinguished emeritus members. The Cowboy Artists will be displaying oil paintings, drawings and water solubles, and sculptures in bronze and stone.

Founded in 1965, the Cowboy Artists of America is the oldest association of artists of its type in the country. Drawing on themes from the past and present, the artists capture the essence of the new and old West. Throughout the year, individual Cowboy Artists are featured in gallery shows, national and international exhibits, and other Western Art sales, but the CAA Sale and Exhibition is the only time art lovers can see new, original art by all of the Cowboy Artists in one exhibition. (left: Martin Grelle, Hunters Morning, oil, 36 x 48 inches, 1999 © CAA)

This year, visitors to the Phoenix Art Museum will be able to see the best of Western representational art and one of the greatest impressionists at the same time, as the Phoenix Art Museum also will be exhibiting the works of Claude Monet.

Mixing Business with Pleasure: A Talk with Western Art Dealers about the Cowboy Artists of America

Most collectors at the 34th Annual Cowboy Artists of America Sale at the Phoenix Art Museum this October will be hoping to buy a piece of artwork just for the love of it. Some follow a specific artist. Some collect sculpture. Others look for subject matter like the contemporary cowboy or historic Indian lore. What really drive them are not the price, not the art market, and not the competition, but their love of the West and the way the Cowboy Artists capture its beauty, history and romance. (left: Fritz White, Jesse Tanner Rankin-Lawman, 18 inches high, 1999 © CAA)

Among this group of Western Art lovers, there is a special breed.that has turned passion for the art into a successful business. Every year, the CAA Sale draws art gallery owners and directors and sophisticated collectors from around the country. Many have been coming to the Sale for decades and have seen it grow along with the market for Western Art into one of the most exciting art events of the year. (left: R. S. Riddick, Rough, Tough and Tender, oil, 46 x 56 inches, 1999 © CAA)

Stuart Johnson of Settlers West in Tucson, Arizona has attended 26 CAA Sales where he mixes business and pleasure. "It's a chance to see a lot of people you normally don't see. Socially, it's a great time," he says. "It's like the opening of the art season -- everyone is there. From the business side, it is a barometer for how the year will be -- if CA sales are strong, I feel good about our coming year.

Bill Burford, Of Texas Art Gallery in Dallas, hasn't missed a Sale in 33 years. "The main reason I go," he says "is that those CAs are really nice guys. I don't know sometimes whether we don't like them even better than the paintings. But I've seen collectors who are on the edge about a painting and when they meet the artist and like him, they are more likely to buy that painting. That's why meet the artist activities like the Mix & Mingle are so important."

Bill Rey, of Claggett/Rey in Vail, Colorado, and a ten-year veteran of the Sale, agrees. "The more often collectors, especially new ones, can get close to the artists, the more likely they are to buy. These are not only great artists, they are great people."

Maryvonne Leshe of Trailside Americana in Scottsdale has attended 20 Sales. "I love to see the new art all in one place. It's exciting to see what they have done every year. I do think the artists put their best work in the CA Show. The moment it ends, I have heard them talking about what they want to do for next year. The collectors are never shortchanged."

"it's not just cowboys collecting cowboys anymore," remarks Leshe." Collectors are coming from around the world -- Germany, England, France, Japan, Mexico, Canada as well as New York and Chicago. Westerners have always loved the West as a subject, but the market has become much broader and more astute."

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