Magnificent Obsession | Leland and LaRita Boren

Leland and LaRita Boren

Upland, IN


Leland and LaRita Boren

What kind of artwork do you collect? Western fine art.

How would you describe your approach to collecting? We’ve never used a methodical plan or idea when purchasing art, such as picking a particular artist or considering the price of the painting or sculpture. Buying western fine art was a purely pleasurable experience; we simply enjoyed the piece and the story it portrayed, and we wanted the art to be part of our lives.

How many pieces have you acquired over the years? 250 paintings, 80 bronzes, and 11 kachina dolls.

How did you get started? The collection was started in 1971 when the staff at my company, Avis Industrial Corporation, presented me with A PAUSE THAT REFRESHES, an oil painting by Joe Beeler. I had admired the painting in the window of an art gallery I passed on the way to our accountant’s office. To this day, A PAUSE THAT REFRESHES hangs across from my desk. During stressful times, a glance in that direction transports me to the West and a different time. It never fails to bring a smile to my face and lighten my tension.

What’s your most recent acquisition? LaRita purchased a bronze by John Coleman, an artist we met last year at the Eiteljorg Museum’s Quest for the West show, and she gave it to me as a Christmas present this past December.

What’s on your wish list for the future? A good Remington, preferably an oil.

What piece do visitors comment on the most? Roy Andersen’s THE THREE SISTERS probably brings the most interesting comments from viewers. The oil painting depicts two young Indian girls atop a horse—their third sister. Then Joe Beeler’s ALONG THE CHISHOLM TRAIL always receives accolades. Its size (42 by 78) is breathtaking as well as the action of the cattle drive.