The Elements of Western Art

by Peter Hassrick



About the author

Peter Hassrick is a writer and independent American art scholar who focuses on the American West. He lives in Cody, Wyoming, and serves a national and international constituency of museums as a guest curator. He is the Founding Director Emeritus of the Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art of the American West at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. He was also the founding Director of The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, leading it from inception to opening in 16 months. For 20 years prior to that, Hassrick served as the Director of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody. Under his guidance, the Historical Center gained accreditation by the American Association of Museums and grew dynamically in both physical and fiscal dimensions to become the largest museum of art and history between Minneapolis and San Francisco. From 1969 to 1976, he was Curator of Collections at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. He has taught and lectured widely.

Hassrick was born in Philadelphia and raised in Denver. He earned a B.A. in History from the University of Colorado and a M.A. in Art History from the University of Denver, with a concentration in 19th-century and early 20th-century American Art. Hassrick's devotion to the history and art of the American West has inspired numerous exhibitions, lectures and publications that he has produced throughout his career. His books include Frederic Remington (1973), The Way West (1977), The Rocky Mountains: A Vision for Artists in the 19th Century (1983) with Patricia Trenton, Treasures of the Old West (1984), George Catlin: Drawings of North American Indians (1984), Charles Russell (1989), Frederic Remington: A Catalogue Raisonné of Oils, Watercolors and Drawings (1996) with Melissa Webster, The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum (1997), The American West: Out of Myth, Into Reality (2000), Remington, Russell and the Language of Western Art (2000), Gordon Snidow: My Story (2002) and Drawn to Yellowstone: Artists in America's First National Park (2002).

In 2003 Hassrick completed several years of research and writing as guest curator of the exhibition and author of the accompanying catalogue, Wildlife and Western Heroes: Alexander Phimister Proctor: Sculptor, for the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth. The show can now be seen at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody.

Hassrick is married to Elizabeth Drake Hassrick, a newspaper reporter, and has two grown sons, Philip, a doctor, and Charles, an environmental designer.


Resource Library editor's note:

Resource Library extends its appreciation to Ms. Diane C. Salisbury, Director of Exhibitions, Trust for Museum Exhibitions for securing permission from the Trust for publishing of this essay. The essay is from pages 15 through 56 in the 176-page fully-illustrated catalogue for the touring exhibition The American West: Out of Myth, Into Reality. ISBN 1-882507-08-8.


RL readers may enjoy these articles concerning the exhibition:


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Copyright 2003, 2004 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.