July is an exciting time for visitors to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City to view the best Western art during the 40th Anniversary Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition and Sale. Invited exhibiting artists bring a diversity of styles to this esteemed exhibition, featuring 295 works in sculpture and painting by 101 living artists with works ranging from historical pieces reflecting the early days of the West, to more contemporary and impressionistic works of art. Viewers see all things depicting the West such as landscapes, wildlife and illustrative scenes.
Prix de West originally was named after the prestigious 17th century Prix de Rome, a competitive scholarship program in France given to the best artist in sculpture or painting. Prix de West brings the optimum gathering of master works representing the artists’ views of the West.
A must-see is the Prix de West Purchase Award winner. Each year a committee selects one work to purchase for the Museum’s permanent collection. Steve Kestrel of Redstone Canyon, Colorado, was honored with the prestigious Purchase Award medallion for his black slate and Colorado limestone sculpture titled Desert Timeline.
George Carlson of Harrison, Idaho, is the winner of the Robert Lougheed Memorial Award, chosen by the Prix de West artists for their favorite display of three or more works in the show for his oil on linen paintings Sentinel Bluffs, January Thaw and Marshland in Spring.
First Touch of Winter, an oil painting by Curt Walters of Sedona, Arizona, is a double winner—selected for the Buyers’ Choice Award and also the Frederic Remington Painting Award, for the one work in the show with exceptional artistic merit. The Buyers’ Choice is voted on by opening weekend buyers for the work they best admire.
Four other distinguished awards include the Express Ranches Great American Cowboy Award given for the best cowboy subject matter to Kyle Polzin of Austin, Texas, for his oil painting title Trusty Companion. Ross Matteson of Olympia, Washington, is the recipient of the James Earle Fraser Sculpture Award for Ice Breaker sculpted in Italian marble. The Major General and Mrs. Don D. Pittman Wildlife Award for exceptional artistic merit for a wildlife painting or sculpture goes to Greg Beecham for his oil on linen titled The Maestros – An Exploration of the Melodic Resonance between Line and Mass. New in 2013 is the Donald Teague Memorial Award for exceptional artistic merit for a work on paper. The first recipient is Joseph Bohler of Monument, Colorado, for his watercolor Hard Work — Fond Memories.
All the Prix de West winners and others are on display through Aug. 4. For information about Prix de West visit www.nationalcowboymuseum.org or call (405) 478-2250. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Available works of art, commemorative catalogs and collector’s bolos are available for purchase through The Museum Store.
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