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Denver Art Museum opens exhibition chronicling the American West in Bronze, 1850-1925
Hermon Atkins MacNeil (1866-1947), The Moqui Prayer for Rain (detail), 1895-96 (cast about 1897). Bronze; 22-1/4 x 11 x 25-1/4 in. Denver Art Museum; Daniel and Mathew Wolf in memory of Diane R. Wolf.
DENVER, CO.- The Denver Art Museum hosts the exhibition The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925, May 11–August 31, 2014. At the turn of the 20th century, artistic representations of American Indians, cowboys and cavalry, pioneers and prospectors, and animals of the plains and the mountains served as visual metaphors for the Old West. Through seventy-two bronze sculptures by twenty-eight artists, The American West in Bronze explores the aesthetic and cultural impulses behind the creation of statuettes with American western themes popular with audiences then and now.

“The allure of the American West is undeniable,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the Denver Art Museum. “In the last three years alone, thanks to the endowment of the Petrie Institute of Western American Art and the donation of the Roath Collection, the Denver Art Museum has risen to the position of an international leader in the field of western American art. We are proud to partner with The Metropolitan Museum of Art to illuminate this fascinating time period.”

From elegiac portrayals of dignified Indians to rough-and- tumble scenes of rowdy cowboys and tributes to the stalwart pioneers who settled the lands west of the Mississippi, The American West in Bronze explores themes of the American West brought to life in enduringly popular sculptures.

“The western bronze statuette was eagerly collected by the urban populace at the turn of the 20th century,” said Thomas Smith, director of the Petrie Institute of Western American Art at the DAM and co-curator of the exhibition. “Remarkably, there has never been a full-scale exhibition on this rich and complex topic. A century later, no segment of American sculpture remains more appreciated by the public.”

The artists featured in the exhibition range from those internationally recognized for their work in bronze such as Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell to artists who infrequently pursued western subjects such as Frederick William MacMonnies and Paul Manship. Many were rigorously trained in New York and Paris and used sophisticated techniques to produce bronzes that were celebrated at home and abroad as authentically American.



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