Visitors can experience the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s 36th anniversary Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition and Sale through September 7. The exhibit includes a record 343 Western paintings and sculptures by 108 of the finest contemporary Western artists in the nation.
The top honor is the Prix de West Purchase Award winner. From more than 340 works of art, a committee selects one work to purchase for the Museum’s permanent collection. Tom Browning of Bend, Oregon, was honored for the first time with the prestigious Prix de West Purchase Award medallion.
Browning’s painting titled The Dawn Of A New Day makes a significant addition to the Museum’s priceless acquisitions. The oil painting depicts a frontier woman peering out the window of her home with morning sunshine streaming in. Browning began painting full time in 1972, sand 2009 marks his fourth Prix de West invitation.
Six other distinguished awards were presented including The Robert Lougheed Award, chosen by the Prix de West artists for their favorite display of three or more works in the show. Bill Anton of Prescott, Arizona, won the awards for his works Easy Does It, Branding at Red Bluff, Fixin’ A Flat, and Not On Your Life. Anton also received the Express Ranches Great American Cowboy Award given for best cowboy subject matter. Anton’s award-winning work, Easy Does It, represents a cowboy’s anxious ride down a snowy slope with pack horse in tow.
The James Earle Fraser Sculpture Award is an award given to an artist for exceptional achievement in sculpture. John Coleman of Prescott, Arizona, was the recipient of this award for his sculpture 1876, Gall—Sitting Bull—Crazy Horse. This sculpture depicts those considered to be some of the most important principals involved in the battle of the Little Bighorn. The sculpture also resonated with buyers and earned Coleman the Nona Jean Hulsey Rumsey Buyers’ Choice Award. It is voted on by buyers for the work they best admire and the piece they feel exemplifies the mission of the Museum.
The Frederic Remington Painting Award is selected for the one work in the show with exceptional artistic merit. Craig Tennant of Golden, Colorado, was honored for his work of Heading Home. This large oil painting is a view of a mountain man paddling his canoe after a successful elk hunt.
The Major General and Mrs. Don D. Pittman Wildlife Art Award is given for exceptional artistic merit for a wildlife painting or sculpture. First-time Prix de West artist Kyle Sims of Belgrade, Montana, captured the honor for Summer Rumble, a 40” x 60” oil, capturing the emotion of the annual bison rut. The energy and excitement of the scene captured Museum-goers throughout opening weekend.
For information about Prix de West visit www.nationalcowboymuseum.org or call (405) 478-2250. The Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Commemorative catalogs and collector’s bolos are available for purchase from The Museum Store.