Palm Springs Desert Museum

Palm Springs, CA

(760) 325-7186


Edward Borein: The Artist's Life and Work

Three Buckaroos, 1922, watercolor on paper, 11 x 15 5/8 inches, collection of the Rockwell Museum, Corning New York

Palm Springs Desert Museum announced recently the opening of a new exhibition: Edward Borein: The Artist's Life and Work, February 17 through May 16, 1999 in the Kemper and Phinny Galleries (Annenberg Art Wing).

John Edward Borein (1872-1945), the son of the deputy sheriff of San Leandro, grew up along one of California's cattle trails. Borein's artistic inclinations became evident almost immediately as he was sketching at the tender age of five. His earliest subjects--cowboys, vaqueros, longhorn cattle and horses--determined his lifelong interests. Beginning in 1893, Borein worked on ranches along the California coast. He became a proficient roper and rider and developed skills in saddle-making and lasso-braiding. He continued to sketch and found ample inspiration in his itinerant life. His art first appeared in print in 1896. By 1900 he established a studio in Oakland and in 1904 began to work as an illustrator for San Francisco Bay Area newspapers and magazines including Sunset Magazine.

In 1907 he moved to New York, to gain valuable experience in the world of illustration. Though thought of primarily as a Western artist, his years in New York were some of the most productive and rewarding of his career. In 1917, he moved to Santa Barbara where he continued to portray a range of subjects from vaqueros to California missions. Borein was intensely detail oriented. In his depiction of Native Americans, he thought it was more important to convey a genuine sense of "lndianness" more than ethnographic accuracy.

Borein worked primarily in watercolor, etching and ink drawings. He mastered the technique of etching, setting his work apart from his peers. His vivid and sparkling watercolors show a mastery of the tonal qualities of the medium. In his work, Borein's aim was to convey a flavor of authenticity without pretension, factual fussiness or complex aesthetic effects. His subjects were conjured from his imagination, but were based on the concrete facts of the life he lived and observed. Borein developed a readily identifiable personal style that communicates the sun-drenched aridity of the desert and the open range, the vastness of the landscape and the volatile spark that animates the inhabitants.

This exhibition was organized by the Rockwell Museum, Corning, New York. The Palm Springs showing and educational programs are funded in part by the Museum's Western Art Council.

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

rev. 8/24/10

Search Resource Library for thousands of articles and essays on American art.

Copyright 2010 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.