By Darla Shelden, City Sentinel Reporter —
OKLAHOMA CITY – Last week, the Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum hosted the 49th Annual Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition & Sale Weekend with in-person and virtual live-streaming events. The exhibition was held in the Museum’s Sam Noble Special Events Center.
As the Museum’s largest annual fundraiser, the event raised $2.68 million this year. A portion of the proceeds will go toward funding the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s exhibitions and family programming.
The 2021 exhibition and sale featured more than 90 artists and more than 260 paintings and sculptures. Special guests included renowned artist Ed Mell, Thomas Blackshear II, Huihan Liu andRoseta Santiago.
“For 49 years we have had the privilege of producing Prix de West and showcasing some of the finest representations of Western art in the nation,” said Natalie Shirley, Museum President and CEO.
“We are honored to welcome back our artists and patrons both in person and virtually for an amazing and beloved annual celebration of the arts,” Shirley added. “We are looking forward to another amazing event next year for the 50th Prix de West here at The Cowboy.”
The top-honored Prix de West Purchase Award winner, given to the artist whose work of art is selected by the Prix de West Committee and purchased for the Museum’s permanent collection, was awarded to Greg Beecham, for his 30” x 48” Oil on linen painting titled Gone Fishin’.
Beecham received the $34,000 purchase price, a $5,000 award, and the Prix de West medallion sponsored by Roberta M. Eldridge Miller.
Beecham said, “I’d be lying if I said I’d never dreamed of this. But I never thought it would happen. This is the big one. This is the greatest honor I’ve ever had and the greatest honor I’ll ever get.”
Other 2021 award winners include the Jackie L. Coles Buyers’ Choice Award was given to Bonnie Marris for her 40” x 30” Oil on canvas painting titled A Cold Reception. Priced at $19,000, the piece sold during the Saturday evening fixed-price sale. The $3,000 award is given to the most popular work of art chosen by Prix de West patrons and is sponsored by the Estate of the late Jackie L.Coles.
Daniel F. Gerhartz received the Frederic Remington Painting Award for his 60” x 40” Oil painting titled Wayfaring Stranger. The painting priced at $42,000 sold during the Saturday evening fixed-price sale. Gerhartz received a $3,000 award for exceptional artistic merit for a painting sponsored by Donna Holt, Jan Provine, and Terri Saddler, in loving memory of their parents, Russ and Dortha Sadler, lifetime members and docents.
The Major General and Mrs. Don D. Pittman Wildlife Award was given to Daniel Smith for his 24” x 36” Acrylic painting titled Through the Caldera. The painting priced at $20,000 sold during the Saturday evening fixed-price sale. The $3,000 award for exceptional artistic merit for a wildlife painting or sculpture is sponsored by the Estate of the late Major General and Mrs. Don D. Pittman.
The James Earle Fraser Sculpture Award was presented to Ross Matteson for his 15” H x 10” W x 9” D Cast bronze sculpture titled Black Merlin. The sculpture priced at $12,000 sold during the Saturday evening fixed-price sale. The $3,000 award for exceptional artistic merit for a sculpture is sponsored by the Charlie Russell Riders in honor of Steve Rose.
The Express Ranches Great American Cowboy Award, honoring the finest portrayal of cowboy subject matter, was presented to Eric Bowman for his 38” x 36” Oil painting titled Overlook. The painting priced at $19,800 sold during the Saturday evening fixed-price sale. The $3,000 award is sponsored by Robert A. Funk and Express Ranches.
The Donald Teague Memorial Award, honoring an exceptional work of art on paper, was presented to Joel R. Johnson for his 25” x 38” Transparent watercolor painting titled Sunset Reflections. The painting priced at $12,000 sold during the Saturday evening fixed-price sale. The $3,000 award was sponsored by Scottsdale Art Auction.
The Wilson Hurley Memorial Award for an outstanding landscape was presented to Skip Whitcomb for his 30” x 36” Oil on linen painting titled Moses Coulee Mares. The painting is priced at $21,500. The award of $3,000 was sponsored by Moore Tax and Financial Services.
The Directors’ Choice Award for Excellence was awarded, acknowledging excellence in a work of art, to John Moyers for his 24” x 96” Oil on canvas painting titled Vanguard of the Northern Plains. The painting priced at $78,000 sold during the Saturday evening fixed-price sale. The award of $3,000 was sponsored by an anonymous member of the Prix de West Committee.
The Robert Lougheed Memorial Award was awarded to Scott Burdick for his collection of four paintings titled The Many, Colors, Of Our, Nation. All pieces in the collection sold during the Saturday night fixed-price sale: The Many for $6,500, Colors for $14,000, Of Our for $18,000 and Nation for $14,000. The award of $3,000 for best display of three or more works is chosen by Prix de West exhibiting artists and sponsored by Barbara and Roger Simons in memory of Faydra and George Simons.
All unsold art remains on display to the public and available for purchase through August 8, 2021. See available works on the online catalog.
The 49th Annual Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition & Sale was made possible by the Presenting Event Sponsor, Eskridge Lexus of Oklahoma City, with Major Sponsorship support from Mr. and Mrs. J. T. Atherton, Mr. and Mrs. Gregory M. Simon and the Dellora A. & Lester J. Norris Foundation.
Associate Sponsors include Southwestern Stationery and Bank Supply, a Southwestern Group Company, Ghostwood, Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Grant and American Fidelity Foundation. Other Sponsors include Mr. and Mrs. Steven Olshan, Panera, Kent and Teresa Webb, Mr. and Mrs. Mike Stieb, Southwest Art Appraisals and Uline.
The Museum offers annual memberships beginning at just $40. For more information, visit nationalcowboymuseum.org.