Roots of American Spirit Explored in “Go West!” Art Exhibition Opening Nov. 3 at the High
September 20, 2013
Exhibition features masterworks by Remington and Russell, rare objects from 19th-century Plains Indian life, and treasures from Buffalo Bill Cody’s famous Wild West show.
ATLANTA, Sept. 20, 2013 ― The High Museum of Art will bring masterpieces and historical treasures of the American West to Atlanta as the exclusive venue for “Go West! Art of the American Frontier from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West,” on view from Nov. 3, 2013 through April 13, 2014.
Drawn from the unparalleled collection of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyo., the exhibition features major works of art and important artifacts including paintings, drawings, sculpture, photographs, frontier firearms and objects from Native American cultures that showcase the exploration and settlement of the American West. The exhibition spans 100 years of American art from 1830 to 1930 and features 257 objects presented chronologically and arranged thematically into 10 sections. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
Through these objects, the exhibition highlights the ways visual images and stories of explorers and legendary western celebrities such as Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley and Chief Sitting Bull continue to inform American identity and character today.
Highlights from the exhibition include:
- More than a dozen majestic landscape paintings, including some of the earliest painted representations of the American West by Albert Bierstadt (11 works) and representations of America’s first National Park by Thomas “Yellowstone” Moran
- Paintings and sculptures by Frederic Remington (25 works) and Charles Russell (17 works) and five canvases by N.C. Wyeth
- Recreational frontier firearms, including guns used by Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley
- Objects for work, play and war crafted by members of Plains tribes, including a deer hide and porcupine quill war bonnet, a toy cradle and exquisitely beaded deer hide moccasins
- Twenty mammoth plate photographs from the High’s permanent collection produced during the construction of the transcontinental railroads in the late 19th century by survey photographers such as William Henry Jackson.
Specific works on view will include:
- Albert Bierstadt, “The Last of the Buffalo,” ca. 1888
- Thomas Moran, “Golden Gate, Yellowstone National Park,” 1893
- Frederic Remington, “The Broncho Buster,” 1895
- William Henry Jackson, “Pulpit Rock, Echo Canon, Utah,” 1900
- Charles M. Russell, “Roping a Grizzly,” 1903
- James Earl Fraser, “End of the Trail,” ca. 1918-1923
- N.C. Wyeth, “The Wild, Spectacular Race for Dinner,” 1904-1905
- J. Wood, “Annie Oakley, Little Sure Shot” (cabinet card), ca. 1889
- Winchester Model 1892 Engraved Lever Action Rifle owned by Annie Oakley, 1905, Winchester Repeating Arms Company, Active New Haven, Connecticut
- “Sitting Bull” (cabinet card), ca. 1885, William Notman & Son Photography Studio, Active Montreal, Canada, 1856-1935
- So-soreh (Shoshone), Northern Plains, Eagle Feather Bonnet and Trailer, ca. 1880
- Hinono’ei (Arapaho), Oklahoma, Ghost Dance Shirt, ca. 1890
“The westward expansion of our country is a compelling saga, and this exhibition visually demonstrates the complexity of our nation’s expansion through great works of art,” said Michael Shapiro, Nancy & Holcombe T. Green Jr. director of the High.
The exhibition begins with early 19th-century representations of the West, complemented by objects made by Native American tribe members who interacted with the earliest frontier settlers. Moving into the early 20th century, “Go West!” demonstrates how these early representations and objects gave way to widespread perceptions of the West. The exhibition also includes a focus gallery that examines the extraordinary union of popular culture and history in Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West show and the art that the shows inspired.
“Stories of the West not only continue to permeate American culture today, but also influence our contemporary values of opportunity and innovation,” said Stephanie Heydt, Margaret and Terry Stent curator of American art at the High. “Viewing objects from the American West and paintings inspired by the frontier provides a unique opportunity to see the origins of the American entrepreneurial spirit.”
Concurrently with “Go West!” at the High, the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Ga., presents “Today’s West! Contemporary Western Art from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West” (Oct. 24, 2013 through April 13, 2014). “Today’s West!” immerses visitors in the artistic developments occurring in art of the American West over the past 50 years, bringing the story of the High’s exhibition to the present day.
Exhibition Organization and Support
“Go West! Art of the American Frontier from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West” is co-organized by the High Museum of Art and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
The exhibition is made possible by Lead Sponsor The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.
Presenting Patrons of “Go West!” include the James M. Cox Foundation and The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.
Additional support provided by a Patron of the High Museum of Art, The Fraser-Parker Foundation and the Isobel Anne Fraser-Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment, The Imlay Foundation, Inc., Sarah and Jim Kennedy, V. Kay and M. Douglas Ivester, Margaret and Terry Stent, Terra Foundation for American Art, and Friends of “Go West!.”
This exhibition of supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Committed to connecting people with the Spirit of the American West, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, located in Cody, Wyo., weaves the varied threads of the western experience—history and myth, art and Native culture, firearms and the nature and science of Yellowstone—into the rich panorama that is the American West. The Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. For general information, visit www.centerofthewest.org.
High Museum of Art
The High Museum of Art is the leading art museum in the Southeastern U.S. With more than 13,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American and decorative art; significant holdings of European paintings; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists. For more information, visit www.high.org.
The Woodruff Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center is ranked among the top four arts centers in the nation. The Woodruff is unique in that it combines four visual and performing arts divisions on one campus as one not-for-profit organization. Opened in 1968, the Woodruff Arts Center is home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art and Young Audiences. To learn more about the Woodruff Arts Center visit www.woodruffcenter.org.
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