Painters and the American West: The Anschutz Collection
The American West—with its majestic mountain peaks, vast rolling plains, colorful valleys and winding rivers—has enchanted artists for centuries. Painters and the American West: The Anschutz Collection featured 75 extraordinary paintings by some of the best-known artists of the American West. Spanning nearly 180 years of American history, the exhibition was drawn from the distinguished private collection of Denver businessman Philip F. Anschutz.
Intended to integrate painting of the American West into the broader spectrum of American art history, Painters and the American West featured paintings by a wide variety of artists. Works by major painters who have depicted the West, including Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Remington, and Georgia O’Keeffe, are shown with surprising works by artists who only rarely painted western subjects, such as Childe Hassam, John Henry Twachtman, and George Bellows.
Painters and the American West showcased singular masterpieces as well as significant groupings of portraiture, landscape, still life, history painting, and genre scenes (depictions of everyday life). The exhibition was divided into six chronological sections. The sections illustrate the evolution of American painting of the West from early nineteenth-century landscapes symbolic of national pride and identity to far more subjective works that convey an individual experience of the landscape, its inhabitants, and their daily lives.
The work of this country’s first artist-explorers is featured in First Painters of the American West. In The Western Landscape, majestic, often idealized views of the West by artists such as Bierstadt awe the viewer. Remington’s and Charles Russell’s nostalgic and dramatic views lamenting the passing of the West play a prominent role in Romance of the Old West. The section entitled California Painters details the importance of that state’s artistic community and its particular landscape subjects in western painting during the second half of the nineteenth century, while Modern Landscape features paintings embodying modern art ideas around 1900. Finally, a large section highlights paintings made in Taos and Santa Fe during the first half of the 20th century by artists such as O’Keeffe, Stuart Davis, and John Marin.
Painters and the American West: The Anschutz Collection was organized by the Denver Art Museum. The organization of this exhibition is generously underwritten by The Anschutz Foundation, KPMG LLP, and KPMG Consulting, Inc. Sponsorship of the exhibition at the Corcoran has been generously provided by Martha Ann Healy. Additional support has been provided by Reed Smith Hazel & Thomas, LLP.