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50th Prix de West Spotlight: William Acheff

Excitement is in the air at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum as we prepare for the 50th annual Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition & Sale. The exhibition opens June 2, 2022, with the sale weekend set to take place June 17–18.  But you don’t have to wait to view the amazing art. The online catalog is now LIVE.

Prix de West showcases the American West through the work of today’s finest contemporary Western artists. In celebration of the 50th Prix de West, we will be spotlighting artists, discovering works currently resting in the Museum vault and sharing the history of this prestigious exhibition and sale.  

Our next Prix de West artist in the spotlight is William Acheff. Acheff has participated in Prix de West since 1983 and is one of only seven artists to win the Prix de West Purchase Award twice. The top-honored Purchase Award is given to the artist whose work is selected by the Prix de West Committee and purchased for the Museum’s permanent collection. Acheff received his first Purchase Award in 1989 for his painting Flapjacks, and again in 2004 for his painting, As You Were. 

The following interview is an excerpt from “What Makes Prix de West the Premier Western Fine Art Show in the Country?” written by Prix de West Committee Chairman Dan Corazzi for the 50th Prix de West commemorative catalog.

What did receiving your first Prix de West Purchase Award in 1989 mean to you at that point in your career? 

My head went numb when I heard my name. I was in a daze walking toward the stage to be presented with the medal. That was the last time the Prix de West award was announced at the Saturday night dinner. I had a feeling that something good was going to happen throughout the day, but I had no idea it would be the big award. 

You have the distinction of being only one of seven artists to receive two Prix de West Purchase Awards since 1973. What does it mean for an artist to be invited to participate in the Prix de West? 

When I was accepted to the Prix de West in 1983, I recall that I was surprised because I had been so resistant before. There is another level of acceptance associated with being invited to this Show. I think one must always strive to improve and evolve which many times can be referred to as growing pains. The phrase, “painting outside of the box,” can also be referred to as painting outside of your own prison and comfort zone.

Come see Acheffs newest work at Prix de West beginning June 2nd!

To see this full story and other special features, be sure to get your copy of the special hardbound 50th Prix de West commemorative catalog. Catalogs will be available through the Museum Store starting June 6. Premium package attendees to Prix de West receive a complimentary copy of the catalog, as well as a commemorative bolo and access to seminars, luncheons, the cocktail preview and the fixed-price draw for art & closing celebration. For more information, visit

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