National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum | Oklahoma City, OK, June 7-August 4
This story was featured in the June 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art June 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art June 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
On Friday, June 7, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum unveils the 40th anniversary Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition and Sale, featuring more than 300 artworks from more than 100 contemporary western artists and a weekend of special events. This year’s show opens at 9 a.m. on Friday morning with presentations from curators and artists including Anne Morand, John and Terri Kelly Moyers, and Curt Walters. Then a first look at the artwork and an artists’ reception begins at 6 p.m. that evening in the Prix de West Galleries. On Saturday, a panel discussion with artists Carolyn Anderson, Howard Post, and Skip Whitcomb begins at 9 a.m., followed by a talk by artist Clyde Aspevig and art demonstrations by Ross Matteson and Andrew Peters in the afternoon. On Saturday evening, the preview begins at 5:30 p.m. with the fixed-price sale by draw starting at 6:30. The awards banquet begins at 7:30 p.m. and includes a live auction.
New this year is the Donald Teague Memorial Award for exceptional artistic merit for a work on paper. The award comes with a $3,000 prize and encompasses works in watercolor, gouache, colored pencil, conté crayon, pastel, graphite, and mixed media.
Susan Patterson, the museum’s manager of contemporary western art shows and sales, says that the Prix de West has really grown in size, value, and stature over the past 40 years. “The number of artists participating has tripled,” she says, “and the amount of artworks has grown four times over.” The biggest change, however, may be in the artwork itself. Today the Prix de West works celebrate not only the Old West and its storied people but also the contemporary West, its landscape and the people and animals found there today.
“The Prix de West is one of the greatest western art shows in the United States,” says painter Sonya Terpening, who returns for her 19th time this year. She brings four paintings, including YOU PLAN THE WORK, NOT THE WEATHER, a 27-by-39-inch watercolor she says was inspired by two separate instances in which she witnessed the dedication of ranch cowboys who had jobs to do and did them despite the changes in weather that confronted them. Terpening says, “My favorite part [of the show] is having two days to visit with art enthusiasts and collectors. It is a chance to really get to know the people who enjoy your art. You also have time to share the story of your paintings, to let people inside your inspiration.”
Sculptor Kent Ullberg has participated in the show since 1977 and says he returns year after year “for the honor of showing with the foremost artists in our genre.” This year he brings five pieces, including KINGFISHER, a 6-foot-tall stylized bronze depiction of the small birds that Ullberg says he sees daily at his home on the Texas coast. “This show is truly a celebration of the artists,” he says. “With all the insecurities and doubts about ourselves that we live with daily, this exciting weekend makes us feel good about who we are and what we do.” —Laura Rintala
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