March 2007 | News Beat

Steamboat Pastures by Gordon Brown
Steamboat Pastures by Gordon Brown

Coors Western Art Show Results
More than 1,000 people attended the 15th annual Coors Western Art Exhibit & Sale at the National Western Stock Show in Denver in January.
Best of Show went to featured artist Gordon Brown for his oil painting steamboat pastures, which was purchased for the National Western Stock Show’s permanent collection. Len Chmiel won Southwest Art Magazine’s Artists’ Choice Award for his oil painting hoar frost, cache la poudre. Sculptor T.D. Kelsey was this year’s recipient of the Mary Belle Grant Award, an honorary award given to an individual who embodies the spirit of the western way of life. Sales for the opening night intent-to-purchase sale exceeded $650,000.

Out & About
In January the Denver Art Museum named Christoph Heinrich the new curator of modern and contemporary art, replacing Dianne Vanderlip, who retired on January 12 after nearly 30 years with the museum. Heinrich, formerly with the Hamburg Kunsthalle museum in Germany, will travel to Denver regularly until he officially takes over the post in September…. Legacy Contemporary, a new 9,000-square-foot contemporary western gallery in Scottsdale, AZ, held its grand opening in early February…. Blue Rain Gallery in Taos, NM, celebrates its 15th anniversary with a show the weekend of March 23-24, one of many special events planned to commemorate the milestone…. The Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters recently announced five new signature members for 2007: Stephen Datz, CO; Carol Jenkins, CO; Neil Patterson, Canada; John Potter, MT; and David Schwindt, AZ.

Hollis Williford with his sculptures, 1990
Hollis Williford with his sculptures, 1990

In Memoriam
Painter and sculptor Hollis Williford died on January 1 in Loveland, CO. He was 66 years old. A native Texan, Williford graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles and worked briefly as a freelance illustrator before moving to Colorado to pursue fine art.
Highly respected for his portrayals of the West, Williford was a two-time winner of the prestigious Prix de West. He worked in a variety of media, including charcoal, oil, and bronze. His 12-foot bronze sculpture, welcome sundown, is on permanent display at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. His work is found in numerous private, corporate, and museum collections, including the Gilcrease Museum, the Whitney Gallery of Western Art at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, and the Denver Art Museum.

Critics’ Choice
The International Association of Art Critics recently announced its annual awards for the outstanding museum and gallery shows of the previous season. Voted on by the 400 members of the U.S. chapter of the association, the winners include a number of shows in the West. First place for Best Monographic Museum Show Nationally was awarded to Robert Rauschenberg: Combines, organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; second place in the same category went to The Art of Richard Tuttle, organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Taking second place in Best Thematic Museum Show Nationally was The Société Anonyme: Modernism for America, organized by the Yale University Art Gallery and presented at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, CA. First place for Best Show in a Commercial Gallery Nationally was presented to Moody Gallery in Houston, TX, for the show David Ireland, Jess & Al Souza. The awards ceremony was held in February at El Museo del Barrio in New York City.

A Very Good Year
Sotheby’s U.S. sales reached $1.8 billion in 2006, a 52 percent increase over 2005, making the U.S. its fastest-growing market. Chief executive William Ruprecht cited high collector confidence as a major reason for the increase along with high-priced bids for works by Picasso, Klimt, and Cézanne. The auction house’s sales totaled $3.66 billion worldwide, with figures up 29 percent in Asia, 28 percent in the United Kingdom, and 6 percent in continental Europe.