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July 21, 2024

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Now Showing at The Frist: ‘Creating the American West in Art’

Explore the nuances of a complex American West, including its often-challenging history and its vibrant and diverse natural beauty.

The Frist Art Museum presents Creating the American West in Art, an exhibition of nearly 80 paintings and sculptures ranging in date from 1822 to 1946 and made by such notable artists as Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran, Frederic Remington, Charles Marion Russell, E. Irving Couse, Robert Henri, John Sloan and Maynard Dixon.

Drawn from the Petrie Institute of Western American Art at the Denver Art Museum, the exhibition will be on view in the Frist Art Museum’s Upper-Level Galleries from March 5 through June 27, 2021.

For many, the words “American West” have long conjured a concept as much as a location. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, depictions of the people, landscapes, and wildlife of the West fostered a sense of American identity that was rooted in a pioneering spirit of adventure and opportunity.

Most of the artists represented in this exhibition spent years studying in Europe—predominantly Italy, Germany, and France. They returned to the United States, however, determined to distinguish themselves through uniquely American subjects.

“Depictions of the West made in an array of styles over the course of 150 plus years crystallized key components of American history and mythology, including the concept of manifest destiny and American exceptionalism,” says Frist Art Museum curator Katie Delmez.


Exhibition gallery

E. Martin Hennings. Rabbit Hunt, ca. 1925. Oil on canvas, 35 1/2 x 39 1/2 in. Denver Art Museum: William Sr. and Dorothy Harmsen Collection, 2001.449. © E. Martin Hennings

Moran_Snowy Mountain Range

Thomas Moran. A Snowy Mountain Range (Path of Souls, Idaho), 1896. Oil on canvas, 14 x 27 in. Denver Art Museum: Roath Collection, 2013.109

Charles Marion Russell. In the Enemy’s Country, 1921. Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 in. Denver Art Museum: Gift of the Magness Family in memory of Betsy Magness, 1991.751

Frank Tenney Johnson. The Trail Boss, 1920. Oil on canvas, 30 x 20 1/4 in. Denver Art Museum: Roath Collection, 2013.107

Robert Henri. Tom Po Qui (Water of Antelope Lake/Indian Girl/Romancita), 1914. Oil on canvas, 40 1/2 x 32 1/2 in. Denver Art Museum: William Sr. and Dorothy Harmsen Collection, 2001.461

William Jacob Hays. Herd of Buffalo, 1862. Oil on canvas, 25 1/2 x 48 1/2 in. Denver Art Museum: Fred E. Gates Fund, 1960.39

About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.