Posted: Wednesday, April 9, 2014
This Sunday, April 13, is the final day to see The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925 at the Met. After the show closes in New York, it will travel to its second venue, opening at the Denver Art Museum on Sunday, May 11. Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountain region, Denver is an opportune setting for an exhibition of western bronzes. The Denver Art Museum is also home to the Petrie Institute of Western American Art, founded in 2001 and dedicated to promoting the significance of the West in American art and culture. Denver thus provides a new geographic and intellectual context for The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925.
Posted: Monday, March 31, 2014
On April 22, 1930, Bryant Baker's seventeen-foot bronze statue Pioneer Woman was unveiled in Ponca City, Oklahoma, before a crowd of forty thousand spectators. At the dedication ceremony, patron Ernest W. Marland—oil man, philanthropist, and the tenth governor of Oklahoma—described the commission: "We have erected monuments to our war heroes, to the hearty pioneers who wrested from the wilderness, from the plains and from the desert this nation of ours, but have we preserved the memory of the women…who married their men and set out with them on their conquest of the west, faced with them the months of arduous toil and terrible dangers?…With this monument I hope to preserve for the children of our children the story of our mothers' fight and toil and courage."
Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Led by Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, the First United States Volunteer Calvary, better known as the Rough Riders, was a rag-tag group of cowboys, ranchers, American Indians, and college athletes recruited to fight in the Spanish-American War. Participating in the Battle of Las Guásimas, the Battle of San Juan Hill, and the Siege of Santiago, the troop helped bring the war to a victorious close, returning home from Cuba on August 14, 1898. In honor of Roosevelt's leadership and service, the Rough Riders presented him with a cast of Frederic Remington's The Broncho Buster (currently on display in The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925). Upon receiving the statuette, Roosevelt said to his to men, "To have such a gift come from this peculiarly American regiment touches me more than I can say. This is something I shall hand down to my children, and I shall value it more than I do the weapons I carried through the campaign."
Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Nearly every turn-of-the-twentieth-century sculptor of western themes, whether an animal specialist or not, at some point modeled the bison, the largest North American mammal. Whether poised or active, static or frenetic, the bison appears as the principle subject in six sculptures in The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925.
Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2014
In 1897, artist Solon Hannibal Borglum moved to Paris to study sculpture at the Académie Julian. Born in Utah Territory in 1868, Borglum had worked as a rancher in Nebraska before pursuing a career in art in the early 1890s. While abroad, he cultivated his identity as a "cowboy artist," capitalizing on the widespread popularity of the American West in France.
Posted: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
The self-proclaimed "Sculptor in Buckskin," Alexander Phimister Proctor (1860–1950) was born in Ontario, Canada, and raised in Denver, Colorado. At the age of twenty-five, he moved to New York to study at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League, and he later trained in Paris at both the Académie Julien and the Académie Colarossi. Proctor is best known for his sculptures of American Indians, cowboys, and wildlife carried out in a sophisticated, French Beaux-Arts style. Inspired by his experiences as an avid hunter and outdoorsman, he often approached animal subjects from a scientific perspective, undertaking dissections and studying specimens at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.