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Thomas Moran, great salt lake, chromolithograph,

This extraordinary print clearly features an idealized view of the Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Range.  Moran’s work reflects the fondness for romantic views that support the idea of the sublime.  In our troubled times, it transports us to a feeling of grandeur and peace.


In 1841 Thomas Moran served as official artist for the United States Government Expedition to Yellowstone Valley along with geologist Prof. F.V. Hayden. Upon his return, Louis Prang commissioned Moran to create 14 watercolors of his travel which were printed alongside text by Hayden.  "These prints have never been surpassed as examples of the best American chromolithgraphy . . . (they are) considered unexcelled among illustration of the Far West." (The Chromolithographs of Louis Prang, Katharine M. McClinton, 1973, p.159)


Landscape painter, etcher, aquatintist. Born in West Nyack, NY in 1839. From a long line of artists, John Henry was the son of John Wm. Hill (1812- 1879) and grandson of John Hill (1770-1850), a well-known English engraver who immigrated to the U.S. in 1816. The younger Hill began exhibiting in NYC and Philadelphia in the late 1850s.


In 1868 he made a trip to the West as a member of the Clarence King survey expedition. On this trip he did a variety of sketches, watercolors, and gouaches in Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Yosemite and northern California. He returned to New York after about two years and had a studio­home on an island in Lake George where he developed his western sketches into large oils. 



Artists in California 1786 - 1940, Edan Milton Hughes

James Everett Stuart, Yellowstone, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, western art, 1885

Stuart first traveled to Yellowstone in 1885, and camped for several weeks, supplying himself with fish for food, climbing steep cliffs including Electric Peak, and filling his sketchbook for studio paintings.  He had studied art with Virgil Williams, Raymond Yelland, Thomas Hill, and William Keith at the San Francisco School of Design, and hungry to paint the untrammeled West, set out with his paints, easel and tent, from which he sold his paintings near tourist sites in Yellowstone.  In this scene, Stuart captures the power, drama, and scale of the great curiosity that were Yellowstone’s geysers.

August Becker, american west, buffalo hunt

By 1900, buffalo hunts on the great plains were a thigk of the distant past.  Yet, the romance of the hunt had allure for many.  It was especially challenging to create an image of suspended time featuring riders, horses and buffalo.  Becker's remarkable work captures the moment of the kill, immediately after the animals had been herded into a circle.  The horses eyes reflect the chaos and tension, while dirt kicked up by the all frantic movement of all the animals creates spectres of action in the background.  It is a picture of motion and high drama.



August H. Becker was born in Bonn, Germany and moved with his parents to St. Louis, Missouri when he was three years old. At the age of ten he showed a fondness for art, which he is said to have picked up from his artistic mother. Today he is known primarily for his paintings of Indian genre as well as portraits and murals.

Becker studied under Leon Pomarade, the noted European artist. It is also believed that he worked with P. Snell at New Orleans. One of the greatest artistic influences of his life was his famous half-brother, Carl Wimar, who was twelve years older.
Becker was a leading artist of his period but never attained the notoriety of his brother. Wimar catapulted himself to fame by painting Indians of the American frontier, primarily as a chronicler of the upper Missouri River. He began traveling up the Missouri on fur company steamboats, sketching Indian life and landscapes. These scenes were transformed into pictures that depicted Indian life in the last few years before Anglo settlement.

Together the two brothers produced murals, which decorated the dome of the old courthouse in Saint Louis in 1861. He frescoed the dome and his brother painted eight pictures in the dome. Becker received $1,000.00, then a hefty sum, for his part in the commission. For at least five year of Becker's life, he devoted himself to perpetuating the memory of his brother, who died of consumption in 1862. He completed many of Wimar's charcoal sketches of the upper Missouri.

Becker's works are held in numerous collections including the Harmsen Collection, Missouri Historical Society, Montana Historical Society and the Saint Louis Courthouse.

Becker was among the leading artists of his period.

Source: AskArt Submitted by The Thomas Nygard Gallery, Bozeman, Montana


Birger Sandzen, ocean view, Sweden


This striking image of Sweden's coast was painted during the period that is widely considered to be Sandzen's most important and successful.  It features the rich impasto paint and striking color scheme for which he is most famous.  The scene is at once dynamic and serene.  Of the increasing praise his paintings were starting to receive, Sandzen wrote to his brother: "My paintings hae, to tell the truth, aroused a great deal of attention.  They are not, however, if one reads the reviews 'sensational' - even if the color usage is a little individual.  They are simply nature studies.  I adhere strictly to nature, but strive for the simplest possible means of expression."

The first woodcut representing Baumann's budding doll collection was Strangers from Hopi Land created around 1920. Judging from the number of times he submitted it for exhibition, he was proud of this print. A more ambitious piece, Hopi Katzina suggests how extensive the artist's collection of dolls had become by about 1925, and how the artist delighted in their every detail. The composition is simple and uncluttered, so as not to detract from the dolls' splendid ornamentation. The technical complexity of this print is outstanding, with its myriad colors and intricate designs. This woodcut precisely reproduces the artist's oil painting, now at the Museum of New Mexico, which is titled on the canvas "Pasatiempo." Source: Guatave Baumann, Nearer to Art

Arizona had particular importance to Maynard Dixon.  He traveled there frequently, attempting to record the state's "...unbeaten mountains and unfathomable blue above."  Research reveals that Dixon's first visit to Red Lake occurred in 1922.  While he and his wife, photographer Dorothea Lange, passed by the small settlement in June on their way to the remote village of Kayenta.  Four months later, they moved to the trading post at Red Lake.  From there they explore the surrounding country on extended camping trips.  It was typical of Dixon's peripatetic nature; he frequently took sojourns that lasted several months, studying, sketching and painting the vast desert landscape and its native inhabitants.  At this point in his career Dixon was developing the style and approach to capturing the wide expanses of the West, as described by Don Hagerty "...--the wilderness of brilliant red Navajo sandstone and the paler Kayenta Formation, towering mesas, intricately carved canyons, cloud-swollen skies, and the silence and stillness." ("A Place of Refuge: Maynard Dixon's Arizona).


Butte at Red Lake typifies Dixon's late 1920s and early 1930s paintings of Arizona, portraying an expanse with no particular focal point; the broad, almost limitless space becoming a place for the viewer to project both fears and hopes.  The mesas in the distance were sacred to the Native Americans and unknowable, perhaps, but their depiction here suggests Dixon's use of "dynamic symmetry," a mathematical approach to organizing and creating compositions that became popular in the early 20th century.  Butte at Red Lake is a manifestation of what art historian Linda Gibbs calls Dixon's emotional absorption into the spaciousness of the land. 


Dixon's poem "The Homeland" captures this sentiment:

The mightly West looms vast before my eyes

Wide & far & facing to the sun;-

Mesa & plain, the desert & the sown,

The endless blue, & soring angel-clouds;

And in its farthest rim I see my sould

Arise, bread-winged & free, &bec[k]on me."

Birger Sandzen, Red Rock, Moab,Utah, Colorado River, lithograph

Pencil-signed and titled The Red Canyon is a view of the Colorado River, near Moab, Utah. 

A view of a red mill before a poplar grove, set in the rugged Western landscape of Logan, Utah, applied in thick impasto typical of Sandzen's signature style. The mill also served as the subject of another Sandzen oil, The Red Mill (1929), in the Wichita Art Museum's permanent collection, as well as a watercolor in the collection of the Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery.

Signature - Signed to the lower right. Written to the reverse in Sandzen's hand: "1929 / The Old Mill / Logan, Utah / Birger Sandzen / Lindsborg, Kansas".


Exhibitions - Fastened to the reverse is a remnant tag from from the Brooklyn Museum of Art exhibit Paintings and Sculpture by the Society of Scandinavian American Artists, April 11th-May 15th, 1932. In addition to the work of Sandzen and his contemporaries, that exhibition featured a memorial of the work of Emil Carlsen. The Brooklyn Museum concurrently ran a large exhibition of the work of Carl Milles, the Swedish-American sculptor and dear friend of Sandzen.


John Fabian Carlson is widely recognized as a prominent member of the Pennsylvania impressionist painters.  He has particular importance to Utahns as an influential instructor to LeConte Stewart at the Arts Students League in Woodstock, New York in 1913 and 1914  There, Carlson taught tonalist philosophies of impressionism along with Birge Harrison. Brookside Quiet exemplifies Carlson’s quiet, contemplative winter scenes for which he is justly famous.

In the 1920s, a Los Angeles art critic wrote, “Conrad Buff comprehends the enormity of the West. More than that, he adds thereto a discernment of the stylized and conventionalized forms in which the West abound. Not one artist in a hundred grasps the significance of the West’s dynamic forms.”

By September of 1932 when this canvas was painted, Dixon had been on the road with his family for four months.  It had been a rough year for the Dixon family, with few paintings selling at the height of the Depression and tensions growing between Dixon and his wife, photographer Dorothea Lange.  Seemingly the only solace Dixon found was in the persistent sagebrush plants, the sturdy cottonwoods, and the homesteads that had taken shelter under the trees from the blistering sun.  Perhaps better than any other painter of the American West, Dixon captured the barren beauty and quiet dignity of the high Western desert.  


Signature - 

Signed Carson, Nev., M.D. September 1932

and signed and titled (on the reverse) "Sage and Cottonwoods"

Dixon inventory number "449" with sticker - Maynard Dixon / 728 Montgomery St. / San Francisco

One of the most celebrated Native American artists, Scholder created powerful images that defied stereotypes and had significant aesthetic appeal.  Scholder says "...it is my intention not only to set up graphically a new visual experience for the viewer, but also to make a statement in regard to the society and land in which we, the descendants of the American Indian, live. I am well aware that my paintings are not literal, for to me some ideas require unique statements. I try to capture not only the physical, but the inner and even spiritual."

In 1980, Deffebach used acrylic to create bold stripes of color. This relatively new, plastic based medium allowed artists to explore its expansive technical possibilities and wider range of hues. Paint over unprimed canvas dramatized the painting’s materiality.

One art curator wrote that, "Tony Smith’s paintings are works in motion…abundant in visual and psychological intrigue…imbued with magic, possibility, and surprise.”  A professor at the U of U from 1966 - 2001, uses illusionism, light, and color to create magical moments.  Smith remarked that, “What is important to me is magic, literal magic, a sense that the world is changeable, surprising, that it’s more than you think."


Whether photographing a flooded town, a desert fire, an abandoned nuclear test site or the colors on the horizon emanating from a small town miles away, Richard Misrach draws the viewer into his world through his mastery of color.  Ranging from beautiful lakes to secret military bunkers to speed racing on the Utah salt flats, Misrach's work chronicles mans involvement in the desert, while always paying homage to the intrinsic beauty provided by nature.  It's through beauty that Misrach's social concerns are most revealed.  By pulling the viewer into a glowing light or calm body of water, he presents situations which leave us asking questions about the American desert -- a desert which continues to heal and revive itself regardless of mans actions.

Richard Misrach's work has been exhibited throughout the world and is included in most museum collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art [New York], Museum of Modern Art [New York], Center National d'Art at de Culture Georges Pompidou [Paris], National Museum of American Art [Washington, DC] and Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art [Japan].  Source: AskArt