LIFE ON THE RANGE:
Selected Paintings from the Francis King Collection of Western Art,
Sangre de Cristo Arts Center, Pueblo
Most Americans, including even residents of the Western regions, romanticize the cowboys, ranchers, scouts, traders, and early settlers in ways that stress courage, fortitude, hard but honorable work, quiet strength and dignity, good over evil or adversity, the aspiration and achievement of the American dream. Even though it was not always that idyllic, this is how the demeanor and legend of the old West typically lives on in popular novels, movies and television. And a rather mythic and imaginative picture is quite how many of the artists visualized the West in this illuminating exhibition.
Some of the artists perpetuated the West of the imagination. Still others were actual eye-witnesses to vanishing ways of life. You can interpret which visions of the old West they bring forth? Among the featured artists are such recognized painters as Bill Curry, Charles Dye, Nicholas Firfires, John Hampton, Bruce Kimberling, George Phippen, Olaf Seltzer and Harvey Otis Young.
The Francis King Collection of Western Art began as a gift of 100 artworks by the namesake donor to the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in 1979. It was at the time one of the largest contributions ever made by an individual benefactor to a Pueblo institution. With discerning and diligent curatorial management, the holding has expanded to more than 425 items today. The 25 paintings selected for the Arvada Center’s exhibition are among the very top pieces in that collection.
Opening Reception, Thursday January 21, 2010, 6-9 p.m., Free