NEW YORK CITY — The American West, land west of the Mississippi, has inspired artists of all media — painters, sculptors, photographers and illustrators — to explore its vast thematic potential. While painters tended to focus on the panoramic beauty of the natural landscape, sculptors were drawn to human and animal subjects. Their three-dimensional works depicted daily experiences, rituals and dress of Native Americans; activities of cowboys, settlers and hunters; coexistence and conflict between Indians and white pioneers; man’s relationship to natural dangers and beasts and animals as forces of uncivilized nature. By the dawn of the Twentieth Century, resulting bronze sculptures were eagerly collected by folks back East, particularly city dwellers seeking insights into an Old West that was often mythologized by the artists. Through 65 bronze sculptures and three paintings by 28 artists, “The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925,” on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through April 13, explores the aesthetic and cultural concepts that led to statuettes with enduringly popular themes of the American West. ... Read more
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