Most paintings of the Old West show cowboys as fast-shooting, hard-riding, bear-slaying heroes.
Some were. Artists such as Frederic Remington and Charles Russell rode the trails with these cowboys and put to canvas scenes they did and didn’t witness.
If anything, cowboy artists of the 19th century painted a restlessness of the human spirit as much as they depicted a setting and its people. Cowboys were the champions of America’s boldest tale and the West was the land of second chances.
It’s been said that if the Almighty were a painter, the American West would be his canvas.
On Nov. 9, Altermann Galleries in Santa Fe, New Mexico, auctioned paintings and sculptures by 19th through 21st-century Western and Southwestern artists. The sale totaled $2,034,093.