I know we just talked about the Eiteljorg Museum recently, but I feel it’s important to expand that post. There was so much to tell about the Quest for the West Show all by itself but now I’d like to delve into the incredible paintings you can see any time of year in this post.
This is about all the inspiring artwork they have in their permanent collection. Besides, what artist can resist pics of beautiful paintings?
The first group of paintings will be from past western artists. The second group will show some of the amazing work they are collecting from modern masters.
The nice thing is they allow visitors to take pictures of their permanent collection which I was not able to do with the Quest for the West Show.
Western Art from Historical Master Painters
The Twins is one of my favorite paintings – from any museum or anywhere! It has it all – great composition, amazing color and contrast, painterly realism.
Look at the variety of colors he uses in the shadows – stunning transitions from cool to warm. Many artists would have simply painted a flat darker value color.
Another artist that tops my list of western painters is Frank Tenney Johnson.
Johnson had a profound influence on many leading artists decades later like James Reynolds.
Something that stands out strongly about many of the historical artists is their draftsmanship. The anatomy of their animals and people was usually spot on. For some reason, Kristie and I noticed several paintings in the Quest show that had anatomy problems.
I’m not sure if it’s because of photography issues, the pressure of limited time or just being a bit careless. Or maybe some artists today haven’t had rigorous enough figure drawing experience to know when something is off.
Then again, in museums, we are often seeing the best examples of an artist’s work. Perhaps we would see obvious errors if we saw a larger selection of their paintings.
The old masters were also skilled in the principles of motion and drama. I love the feeling of speed in Olaf Wieghorst’s horse and rider.
Modern Masters of Western Art at the Eiteljorg Museum
What’s really inspiring is the collection of masterworks by many of the leading artists from the last few decades.
One of the thrilling surprises I had during our visit last month was seeing Mian Situ’s colossal painting The Golden Mountain in person. It was introduced at the Autry Museum’s Masters of the American West Show. I vividly remember seeing it in one of the art magazines 15 years ago and wishing I could see the real thing. Prayers are answered at unexpected moments!
It is one of my all-time favorite paintings for two reasons: First, it is exceptionally well painted. Second, there is so much storytelling involved with the ship’s passengers. It is worth a trip to the museum all by itself.
Blessing from the Medicine Man by Howard Terpening is also a large painting and it shows why Terpening is one of the greatest western artists alive. He has now sold several paintings for more than a million dollars and this one went for $1.7 million. To me they are worth every penny.
The first time I saw an original Kenneth Riley painting was at the Outlaw Inn Gallery in 1988. It was stunning and so unique from any other paintings I had seen. I had some work in the gallery as well until the owner skipped town with quite a bit of cash from paintings he had sold. Unfortunately, the artists never got to see any of that money.
Logan Maxwell Hagege is one of the most sought-after western artists in the world today. The crazy thing is that he is only 39 years old.
I’ve seen his work in several major shows over the last 5 years and his paintings are always sold out.
His work looks very graphic, especially in magazines, but he has subtle color transitions and magnificent light and shadow effects all through his work. They are fascinating to study because of the enviably intelligent designs and drama he captures.
Yes, Wilson Hurley’s Grand Canyon triptych is massive leaving the impact on the viewer is just as massive.
He was one of the great masters of light. A meticulous painter, he would start at the top of his canvases and finish them as he worked his way down the canvas. The results are simply beautiful.
Interactive Displays from the Eiteljorg Museum’s Recent Renovations
The museum took Dean Cornwell’s Americanization of California painting and made it interactive.
You can see Kristie playing with the new display. When you click on a section of the painting it will tell you about the characters and the history depicted in the painting.
They even have short videos, clips and photos from that time period to teach more about the subject.
They have some fun puzzles and displays that encourage children and adults to touch. Not something you experience very often at a museum.
The Eiteljorg is an Indiana treasure!
If you are within driving distance please put a visit on your calendar. You will find it to be one of the best trips you take all year.
When you do go, let me know – Kristie and I would love to explore the museum with you.
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