For the Record

Dave Rogers

One of the most significant exhibitions ever to appear at the Stark Museum of Art, Branding the American West: Paintings and Films, 1900-1950, is on display through Sept. 9 at the Orange museum, 712 Green Ave., from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturdays.

It focuses on artists and filmmakers in the early 20th century who reshaped the vision of the American West.

It showcases works portraying images of the landscape, people and environment of a West immersed in change. These pieces both enhance and contradict the narrow representation of the West as a place of violence and action.

Although the frontier was pronounced “gone” 120 years ago by historian Frederick Jackson Turner, the Western American frontier was by that time indelibly embedded in the public consciousness in America and abroad. Artists including painters, sculptors, writers, musicians and filmmakers have perpetuated a vision of the West that has lived on in the world imagination into the twenty-first century.

The exhibition will showcase masterworks from the exceptional but seldom-seen collection of Taos-school paintings from the Collection of the Stark Museum and little-know paintings from BYU’s excellent Maynard Dixon holdings.

“This is the first and probably only time these works will appear together,” said Marian Wardle, Curator of American Art at the BYU Museum of Art.

Sarah Boehme, Curator at the Stark Museum of Art, said the exhibition “will provide a new way of seeing some familiar works of art.”

Additionally, Western films and promotional pieces present popular imagery as part of the exhibition. Selected examples of Western art by other artists, such as Frederic Remington and N.C. Wyeth, will enhance the exhibition through contrasts of approach.

The exhibition appeared first at Brigham Young University Museum of Art Feb. 19 to Aug. 13, 2016, then traveled to the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia for display from Oct. 29, 2016 to Feb. 5, 2017.

A fully illustrated catalog of the exhibition, Branding the American West: Paintings and Films, 1900-1950, edited by Marian Wardle and Sarah E. Boehme and published by the University of Oklahoma Press, accompanies the exhibition. It includes essays by an interdisciplinary team of noted scholars from around the country.  This publication was awarded the Mountain Plains Museum Association Publication Design Award in the Books and Exhibition Catalogues category.

The catalog is currently available for purchase at the Stark Museum of Art’s retail store for $39.95.