Last Sunday I spent the afternoon at the Briscoe Western Art Museum in San Antonio. It is a lovely museum that sits right on the River Walk. I enjoyed it because it was a manageable size for one afternoon and we felt it was a good variety of arts and artists represented. It reminded me of all the recurring themes that one sees in Western art and how important my research into Western Art had been to my over all journey. It was also 105 degrees outside and so a welcome relief from the heat.
When you spend any time with the Western arts you begin to see how these artists preserved and honored the culture of the Native Americans. Gazing at this painting, I can see the rich culture of arts and crafts in their weaving and even their pottery which sits in the background of the right hand side of the painting. This artisan is deep in concentration and skillfully creating a piece that is beautiful and useful to daily life.
There was an interesting array of sculptures represented at the Briscoe. These works reminded me of several themes:
- Western art should tell a story
- It often honors the American work ethic
- Frequently portrays people of faith and community
- Sculptures that defy gravity in displays of masculine energy
- A love of animals and nature
I’m also reminded of how many of these artists kept and important record of our history by painting scenes of a way of life and culture of the American West that has disappeared from our landscapes. Nevertheless, it is an important part of who we are and who we have come from that strengthens our sense of self. While there are certainly things in our history that do not live up to our current standards of morality, looking at these works of art reminds me that we have much to be proud of as well.
I highly recommend spending some time with the Western Arts and here is a list of museums you can explore:
- Gilcrease Museum Tulsa Oklahoma
- Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas
- The Briscoe Western Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas
- National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- National Museum of the American Indian Smithsonian, Washington, DC
There are many many more. Do you have a favorite Western Art Museum you can recommend?
Thanks for reading and have a blessed week!