A Walk through Western Art

The art of the American West is largely historical and depicts landscapes, cowboys, and indigenous people.

Western American Art can be defined by two artists: Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell. These two American painters are the basis of over a century of Western American art.

Although Remington and Russell were realists, they were both influenced by Impressionism. Remington’s most famous paintings were the Galloping Horseman, The Blanket Signal, and Pony War Dance. Russell’s best works are considered to be The Buckaroo, the Outlier, and Buffalo Coat.

Beginning with the settlement era in 1870 and the end of the Indian wars in the 1880s, both Remington's and Russell’s artwork portrayed the indomitable spirit of the ever-changing frontier. They benefited from the work of George Catlin, George Caleb Bingham and Alfred Miller.

Remington specialized in images of the Old American West and the U.S. Calvary. Russell's paintings encompassed a broad variety of subjects, including major historical events and everyday life in the west. His work was renowned for the rendition of historical events from the perspective of Native Americans. Russell was also known for the painstaking accuracy with which he depicted the tools and garments of both the cowboys and the Native American people.

The intensity of Russell's criticism and disapproval about the annihilation of the native peoples and the destruction of the plains were unusual for that era. Russell viewed Indians as a noble, stately people who truly inherited a claim to the Northern Plains. He protested the removal of Native Americans from their ancestral lands.

You can discover your favorite western art by traditional and contemporary artists at the Western Art Association in Ellensburg, WA.