Oklahoma City, OK
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, June 10-11
This story was featured in the June 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art June 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.
For more than 40 years, the Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition and Sale has stood as one of the country’s premier events for western art collectors, and this year is no exception. Three hundred paintings and sculptures by 98 esteemed artists from across the country are on display. “Every Prix de West offers something new and exciting—namely, the artwork,” says Susan Patterson, curator of special exhibits. “As crates are unpacked and art is revealed, I am reminded of the vastness of the American West and of the talented artists who each bring a unique voice in interpreting ‘their’ West.”
Indeed, visitors can expect to see a range of styles and subject matter, from Scott Burdick’s colorful, impressionistic portrait depicting a Native American girl to Len Chmiel’s more abstracted, monochromatic take on a grove of sycamore trees. Ask artists like Josh Elliott why they enjoy returning to the show, and the answers are often similar. “It’s amazing to be part of a show that is full of the artists I admire the most,” says the Montana artist. “They all bring their best work. Knowing that my work will hang next to theirs makes me turn it up a notch—or three.”
Elliott celebrates his seventh year in Prix de West by showcasing his landscape work, TANGIBLE HISTORY, CITADEL ROCK. The painting portrays a wild, scenic portion of Montana’s Missouri River. “This stretch of river was noted for its beauty in the journals of Lewis and Clark,” says Elliott. “Reading their journals while paddling past the landmarks mentioned made their historic journey come alive.”
Artist Glenn Dean from California is thrilled and honored to have his painting LOOKING AHEAD included in this year’s presentation. In the work Dean observes the connections between man and his horse. “The figure is at one with the horse, and both are at one with the land,” he says. “I chose the title because the rider is evaluating what lies ahead of him. It is a hopeful piece, leaving the clouds and heading into the sunshine.”
With SOMBRAS DE SANTOS, Texas artist George Hallmark demonstrates the variety of choices available to collectors. The slice-of-life scene captures an elderly street vendor as he delivers bouquets to a church for a Day of the Dead celebration in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Hallmark, a 12-year show veteran, is fond of calling Prix de West the “grandfather of them all. I always enjoy returning to see both museum staff and collectors, who have all become family,” he says.
There is a change to the opening-weekend events this year. The preview party on Friday, June 10, now includes the awards dinner and is exclusively for those attendees who purchase a premium event package. On Saturday, June 11, the evening’s usual fixed-price sale is followed by a buffet and entertainment as well as a small live auction. In addition, there are seminars and artists’ demonstrations throughout the weekend. The artwork remains on view through August 7. —Bonnie Gangelhoff
MORE RESOURCES FOR ART COLLECTORS & ENTHUSIASTS
• Subscribe to Southwest Art magazine
• Learn how to paint & how to draw with downloads, books, videos & more from North Light Shop
• Sign up for your Southwest Art email newsletter & download a FREE ebook