Ten Prominent People | Howard Terpning

Painter • Tucson, AZ

By Bonnie Gangelhoff

What are some of the biggest changes you have seen in the art world during your career? The biggest change that I have noticed in the art world is the shift from just gallery shows to more auctions and museum shows.

How have you contributed to the understanding of western art? I have tried to keep alive the history of the Plains people and to show them in an honest way. The nomadic life that the Plains people lived provides an endless opportunity for telling stories and, to me, the buffalo culture was fascinating.

What is unique about your new exhibit, Howard Terpning: Tribute to the Plains People, on view May 12-July 1 at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles? This will be, by far, the largest collection of my work ever shown. It represents work from 1978 to the present. 
I hope the work will speak for itself. I have always tried to show the rich drama and the amazing heritage that is ours alone. Putting the exhibit together has required a great deal of thought and time by my wife, me, and—most of all—by John Geraghty and the Autry National Center. I can’t think of a more perfect place to have the exhibit.

Journey to the Medicine Wheel, oil, 43 x 65.

How do you define success? Success means different things to different people. The outcome of my efforts in painting have been favorable and satisfactory.

Describe yourself in one word. Determined.

How would you like to be remembered? I would like to be remembered as an artist who portrayed the Plains people in an honest way.

Featured in May 2012.