Masters of the American West 2016 - Autry Museum of the American West

February 6, 2016, marked the annual Masters of the American West Exhibition at the Autry Museum in Pasadena, CA.  Featuring 75 nationally recognized, contemporary Western artists challenge themselves to create and exhibit their very best work.  Stylistically and thematically diverse, their works represent the extraordinary range of subject matter that contemporary, historic, and mythic Western experiences inspire.  The 2016 Masters was dedicated to the life and legacy of longtime Autry trustee and Masters special advisor John J. Geraghty.  Geraghty passed away on May 27, 2015, following a battle with cancer.  During the annual "Artist's Dinner", a variety of emotions floated through the air from excitement to the somberness of Geraghty's absence.  Personal stories from artists quickly lifted the energy for the evening and carried it throughout the weekend.

Once again, the quality of works exhibited was impressive as the artists obviously attempted to put their best foot forward.  There were so many terrific works, but I thought the works by George Carlson, Logan Maxwell Hagege, Kyle Sims, Kyle Polzin, and Benjamin Wu really stood out. However, the consistency of Morgan Weistling, Z.S. Liang, John Fawcett, and Tim Shinabarger never ceases to amaze me.  The attendance was strong and the energy was high on opening night as nearly 50% of the 257 total works were sold, and more will surely sell before the exhibition is over. Howard Terpning's "The Honor of Being Pipe Carrier" measuring 40x32 inches sold for $811,000. Here are this year's award winners:

  • James R. Parks Trustees' Purchase Award:  Tammy Garcia, Gold
  • Thomas Moran Memorial Award:  Howard Terpning, The Honor of Being Pipe Carrier
  • Norris Foundation Award for Sculpture: Richard Greeves, Ni-U-Kon-Ska, Corps of Discovery
  • Watercolor Award:  Dean Mitchell, Trail Town Window
  • Bob Kuhn Wildlife Award:  Kyle Sims, Vertigo
  • Don B. Huntley Spirit of the West Award:  Logan Maxwell Hagege, Riding On Luck
  • Artist's Choice Award:  Len Chmiel, Portrait of Unseen Death Valley
Overall, I thought the show was very successful, and it goes to show that quality sells no matter what the market conditions are.  Collectors are more discerning now than ever, so artists have to continue to challenge themselves to put out the best paintings they can.  John Geraghty's passing is a tremendous loss to the Western art world, and the effects will be felt most at the Masters of the American West Show.  John Geraghty did so much to make that show one of the premier Western museum shows in the country, so it will be very interesting to see what's in store for the annual exhibition.
Me with legendary Stuart Johnson & his beautiful wife Melody

Buddy Le & Mark Maggiori (have to check out his work!)

Award-winning artist, Kyle Sims and Buddy Le

Tim & Roxane Shinabarger (best wildlife sculptor in the country)

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