We spent this past summer chasing Western Art around the state of Arizona. Recently we have begun to dip our toes into what we are finding to be the fascinating genre of Western Art. At least as it pertains to Southern Arizona. Prompted by Scratchboard Artist Paul Hopman, we began to visit museums of Western Art in Prescott and Wickenburg and learned of several others that we will assuredly visit in the coming year. This summer we made it to the Cabelleros Western Art Museum in Wickenburg and the Phippen in Prescott where Paul exhibits his work. He is quite particular about where he hangs his art. Claire’s Café in Oro Valley near Catalina is one of them. It is a popular breakfast and lunch hangout as well as an Art gallery. You can see our review of Claire’s here.
Western Art Museums
We guarantee that there are plenty more Western Art Museums and brokers than we will ever find out or get to visit and write about. But here are a few to whet your whistle and encourage your exploration.
Desert Cabelleros Western Art Museum – Wickenburg
We have visited Wickenburg for the past couple of summers. This fall, we arrived in time to visit the Cabelleros Western Art Museum here. Part of it is older. There is a new wing as well with more modern exhibits and plenty for sale. The old museum, c. 1960, has an ongoing rotating exhibit of Western Art by Women, most, if not all of it, for sale. There is a gallery or two of large, romantic Western Art Landscapes and Remington-type sculpture, and Russell-type art as well. Downstairs demonstrates the life of a Pioneer. Take the docent tour. It is worthwhile.
Phippen Museum – Prescott
The Phippen is a large room full of current Western Artist’s works. Further on, are Permanent exhibits. One of them is a reproduction of western artist Ray Swanson’s Studio. We picked up a signed giclee of a Navajo girl while we were in Ohio one cold icy winter day, before we knew he was a famous Western Artist. We just liked it.
Mountain Oyster Club – Tucson
We were invited by Paul Hopman to the Mountain Oyster Club to a speech on Maynard Dixon courtesy of the Friends of Western Art here in Tucson. The speaker was Mark Sublette, foremost authority on Maynard Dixon. The Mountain Oyster Club hosts The Friends of Western Art on a monthly basis. There you can see a plethora of artwork in many rooms scattered around the old brick building. Joining the Friends of Western Art is simpler than joining the Mountain Oyster Club I hear. We may just do that when I retire from my real job.
The Oyster Club is home to rooms full of art, a bar, a restaurant and what looks to be a ballroom or conference room along with office space for lease. You would have to contact the Mountain Oyster Club for more information.
Eddie Basha Collection of Western Art – Chandler
We recently learned that Eddie Basha of the Grocery Store Chain, Basha’s, has a museum of Native American and Western Art. Who’d a thunk it? The collection is quite extensive. Not that we have been there yet, but you can see the collection online if you go to the website above in the heading. You might recognize many of these contemporary artists. I only know the ones I learned in Art History classes and a few others such as Howard Post a former Tucson resident. The Basha Collection is only open weekdays.
Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery – Tucson
The Mark Sublette Gallery is one of our favorites. Small and unassuming, we learned about this early on, before our Southern Arizona Guide. Maynard Dixon is one of Ms. Karen’s favorite western artists. Mark Sublette is one of the foremost knowledgebases for all things Dixon and possibly Howard Post as well. A visit to the Medicine Man Gallery has a small museum collection of Dixon’s history and work in it, with some interesting art, including sketches and more.
Tucson Desert Art Museum – Tucson
Ms. Karen’s favorite part about the Desert Art Museum is not its Gallery which is remarkable or its Western art collection but its permanent collection of Romantic Landscape Art with many of the famous artists of this genre exhibited here. The Desert Art Museum is an important museum and gallery, with notable, historical photographic exhibits, as well as interesting and occasionally controversial topics.
Tucson Museum of Art – Tucson
In the older portion of the TMA which use to be the homes of Hiram Stephens and Howard Fish is the Western Art Collection, an eclectic collection of paintings, sketches, and sculptures dating back 200 years. The museum is expanding its idea of Western Art to include works of Navajo and Ute decent.
Amerind Foundation Museum – Benson
In addition to the extraordinary collection of American Indian Art, the Amerind has a separate building dedicated to Western Art (mostly). I did find a John Marin in there, definitely not Western Art. It is small but notably worth a visit. I do like museums that I can get my head around without being overwhelmed.