The Stark Museum of Art Western Art collection conveys the artistic interpretation of the western region over two centuries.
In the early nineteenth century explorer-artists such as George Catlin, Alfred Jacob Miller, John Mix Stanley and Paul Kane traveled across the continent. From their perspectives they recorded and documented American Indians in portraits and scenes of their customs. In the following decades artists such as Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran brought their painting skills to depict the grandeur of the Western landscape. Frederic Remington, Charles Marion Russell and others created enduring iconic images of the Wild West in their paintings and sculptures portraying cowboy life and Indian imagery at the turn of the last century.
The twentieth century saw the growth of artistic engagement with the West as artists settled in the region and formed artistic colonies in places such as Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Taos Society of Artists included Joseph Henry Sharp, E.L. Blumenschein, Bert Phillips, E.I. Couse, W.H. Dunton, E. Martin Hennings, Oscar Berninghaus, Victor Higgins, Walter Ufer and Kenneth Adams. They portrayed an idyllic West in their depictions of the Pueblo peoples, Hispanic culture and a landscape affected by atmospheric light. Other artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Alexandre Hogue, and Allan Houser have brought new interpretations to the concept of the West.