Prix de West: Profile of the West’s Premier Art Exhibition and Sale
Seaside, by Daniel F. Gerhartz. Oil on linen, 24″ x 48″
It’s springtime, which means preparations for the annual Prix de West® Invitational Art Exhibition and Sale — scheduled for June 10 and 11, 2016 — are underway at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum®. Images of artwork slated for the exhibition have started to appear, and crates filled with paintings and sculptures will soon materialize en masse.
In 1973, the National Academy of Western Art (NAWA) hosted 34 artists showcasing 92 works of art. Santa Fé artist Clark Hulings (1922 – 2011) received top honors as the inaugural Prix de West Purchase Award winner for his oil painting Grand Canyon, Kaibab Trail. The National Cowboy Museum (then known as the Cowboy Hall of Fame) subsequently purchased the piece, beginning the time-honored tradition that would build the Museum’s contemporary Prix de West collection. In addition to the Museum’s purchase of his painting, Hulings received $18,000 in prize money, an all-expense-paid European vacation, Western clothing for two, and a silver trophy.
Fast forward to 2016: The name has changed and the size has tripled, but the quality and standing of the exhibition have remained constant. The prize money is smaller, but the prestige of winning one of the eight awards presented remains coveted throughout the art world.
Glenn Dean and Z.S. Liang will join Prix de West as guest artists this year. Dean’s exposure to the California and Western landscape painters of the early 20th century influenced and directed the course of his career. Intrigued by the relationship between man and his surroundings, today he focuses more on the figure within the landscape. Liang, born in China, moved to the United States in 1982 to further his art education at Boston University. Inspired while studying and painting the Wampanoag Indian culture of Massachusetts, he began to focus his work primarily on Native American cultures and their traditional ways of life.
Ross Matteson has created this year’s Prix de West collector’s bolo, Quail Call, based on his sold-out 1999 bronze of the same name. A 24-year Prix de West veteran, Matteson brings his signature style of grace and elegance to this wearable work of art.
To see the American West through the eyes of today’s most renowned artists is an experience as grand as the West itself. Each artist bringing their personal viewpoint, whether historical or contemporary, through landscape, wildlife and illustrative scenes, all are synonymous with Prix de West.