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Tue, Jan. 21

'Wild Horses' show to feature equine art, Phippen originals

Shannon Lawlor won first place in the 2007-08 International Equine Art Competition with “Cholo.”

Courtesy<p> Shannon Lawlor won first place in the 2007-08 International Equine Art Competition with “Cholo.”

Horse and art lovers will want to jump in the saddle for this show.

"Wild Horses! Equine Art At Home on the Range" celebrates the horse's stature in the American West through special George Phippen pieces on loan from private collections, the work of living cowboy artists, and selected work from 22 up-and-coming artists.

The show also brings out many long unseen pieces from the depths of the Phippen's permanent collection.

The lead piece, "Rough String Riders' Cold Mornin Chore," displayed at the front of the museum, sets the theme of the show and underlines the talent of George Phippen in its dramatic interplay of story and landscape.

A later acrylic work from Phippen, dated 1961, shows how the artist arrived at a level of mastery in contrast to his earlier paintings, many of which the museum brought out from the permanent collection.

The back room shows Phippen works dating back to the 1940s, including an early work entitled "Widowmaker" on loan from the Texas Art Gallery.

Four of Phippen's bronze sculptures show next to the reassembled display of Phippen's studio, with a portrait of Phippen with John Hampton, Cowboy Artist, and cowboy singer Jim Bob Tinsley, donated by Tinsley's daughter.

"Turning the Leaders," a dramatic bronze by Hampton recently acquired by the Phippen, weighs 60 to 70 pounds and rests on the base by two hoofs of the three figures in the piece. The piece dramatizes a horseback cowboy raising his pistol in the air as he corners two bulls almost entangled with each other.

The Phippen has also assembled a memorabilia display in the back room of items owned by Harold James showing James' hat, pistol, bridle, ropes and chaps, donated by the James family, who donated the land the museum sits on.

Deb Bentlage, Phippen curator, said the museum looked at equine art shows nationwide to find up-and-coming artists who truly captured the essence of the horse and its role in the American West.

These artists include Shannon Lawlor, first place winner in the 2007-08 International Equine Art Competition with her acrylic painting "Cholo," featured in "Wild Horses."

Deborah Copenhaver Fellows' sculpture "The Buffalo Hunt" depicts a Sioux warrior leading the tribe's prized buffalo horse to the hunt, while three paintings by Elizabeth Lewis Scott, another invited artist, shows playful, social and humorous perspectives.

The museum strategically places work by the invited artists alongside the work of cowboy artists Bill Nebeker, Fred Fellows, T.D. Kelsey and George Phippen, on loan from private lenders and the museum's permanent collection.

"Wild Horses" shows through Nov. 2.

The Phippen Museum is located at 4701 Highway 89.

Call 778-1385 for more information, or visit

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