Preservation: An Artistic Renovation

An Artistic Renovation


In 1940 Olaf Wieghorst found his calling as a Western artist. Born in Denmark in 1899, he emigrated to the U.S. in his teens. His works now grace some of the top museums in the country and were owned by U.S. presidents and cowboy stars, including Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. His pal John Wayne gave him small movie roles in McLintock! and El Dorado.

In 1999, 11 years after his death, Wieghorst’s home in El Cajon, California (near San Diego), was acquired by the Olaf Wieghorst Museum Foundation and moved to another location in town. For the next decade, the group renovated it to preserve it as a museum. Volunteers donated countless hours, supplies and funds—an estimated hundreds of thousands of dollars worth.

At the grand dedication of the museum this March, attendees viewed Wieghorst collectibles, including his custom cowboy boots and the last painting he worked on. Now you too can visit and see art by the Danish-American original.

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Mark Boardman

Mark Boardman is the features editor for True West Magazine as well as the editor of The Tombstone Epitaph. He also serves as pastor for Poplar Grove United Methodist Church in Indiana.