Western Art

What is Our Fascination With Western Art?

In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson purchased the territory of Louisiana from the French government for $15 million. What a buy!  The Louisiana Purchase stretched from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from Canada to New Orleans, and it doubled the size of the United States. To Jefferson, westward expansion was the key to the nation’s health: He believed that a republic depended on an independent, virtuous citizenry for its survival, and that independence and virtue went hand in hand with land ownership, especially the ownership of small farms. “Those who labor in the earth,” he wrote, “are the chosen people of God.”  In order to provide enough land to sustain a growing population, the United States would have to expand.  The westward expansion of the United States is one of the defining themes of 19th-century American history.

By 1840, nearly 7 million Americans–40 percent of the nation’s population–lived in the trans-Appalachian West. Most of these people had left their homes in the East in search of economic opportunity. Like Thomas Jefferson, many of these pioneers associated westward migration, land ownership and farming with freedom and a chance to prosper.


What about Buffalo Bill?

In 1883, Cody created what would become Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, a grand performance that propelled him to fortune and worldwide fame. The Wild West was staged, in one form or another, for thirty years, playing to enthusiastic crowds throughout the United States and Europe. 

Despite his characterization as a figure from the past, Buffalo Bill always looked to the future. As a businessman, he invested in projects that he hoped might bring economic growth to the West. With his earnings, he invested in an Arizona mine, hotels in Sheridan and Cody, Wyoming, stock breeding, ranching, coal and oil development, film making, town building, tourism, and publishing. 


'The Farewell Shot' poster. 1.69.137. Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

Original poster, The Farewell Shot, 1910. U.S. Lithograph Co., Russell-Morgan Print, Cincinnati and New York. Original Buffalo Bill Museum Collection. 1.69.137

By the turn of the twentieth century, William F. Cody was arguably the most famous American in the world. No one symbolized the West for Americans and Europeans better than Buffalo Bill. Every American president from Ulysses S. Grant to Woodrow Wilson consulted him on matters affecting the American West. He counted among his friends such artists and writers as Frederic Remington and Mark Twain. He was honored by royalty, praised by military leaders, and feted by business tycoons. Cody was America’s ideal man: a courtly, chivalrous, self-made fellow who could shoot a gun and charm a crowd. Yet as Annie Oakley put it, “He was the simplest of men, as comfortable with cowboys as with kings.”




Wether it was because of Western Expansion, Bufallo Bill's Showmanship, the battles between Custer and Native Americans or perhaps the Texas Rangers taming the west or historic cattle drives up the Chisholm Trail.  We're obsessed with Western art, western history and western art.  Timeless moveis like Lonesome Dove & Dances with Wolves have enhanced that alure and paid homage to that disappearing laifestyle.  Artists, collectors and Americans alike all share the same love for the great outdoors, the western spirit and the nostalga of the Native Americans old way of life.

We at Mountain Trails Fine Art count ourselves blesseed to be albe to work with such amazing artists that share that love of the west through their sculpture and paintings.  Their tireless pursit of story-telling, history and creativity bring to life so many of these beloved stories. 

Contact us today to see how we can add a piece of Western art and western hitory to your home!

-Kevin and the team at Mountain Trails Fine Art