Art of the American Frontier


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From the Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Essays by Stephanie Mayer Heydt, Mindy N. Besaw, and Emma I. Hansen; With a foreword by Peter H. Hassrick; With contributions by Emily Burns, Maggie M. Cao, Seth Hopkins, Stephanie Fox Knappe, Anne Marie Shriver, and Rebecca West

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A sweeping look at 100 years of art and material culture from the American frontier

The visual history of the American West calls to mind iconic artworks and nostalgia for the past. Art of the American Frontier presents more than 300 artworks and artifacts from 1830 to 1930, alongside a group of contemporary Western works, showcasing the premier collections of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. The complicated history of westward expansion is presented through the iconography of the frontier, spanning Plains Indian materials, government survey photographs, and paintings by early artist-explorers. In the 20th century, a growing romance with the West is evident in the theatrics of Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West show, with its blend of popular culture and history that inspired numerous artists.

The dialogue between the historical West and the nostalgia for it can be seen in highlights including Timothy O’Sullivan’s government survey photographs, Frederic Remington’s rare Impressionist landscape studies, and charming wax sculptures by Charles Russell. Featuring three essays and ten brief expositions on a range of art, culture, and history topics, this generously illustrated catalogue provides a comprehensive overview of more than 100 years of art from the American West.

Published in association with the High Museum of Art

Exhibition Schedule:

 High Museum of Art

Booth Western Art Museum

Stephanie Mayer Heydt is Margaret and Terry Stent Curator of American Art at the High Museum of Art. Mindy N. Besaw is John S. Bugas Curator of the Whitney Gallery of Western Art and Emma I. Hansen is curator of the Plains Indian Museum, both at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.


 High Museum of Art

Booth Western Art Museum

“Indispensable.”—The Magazine Antiques
“Here’s a catalog you’ll want to own. It’s clearly organized and handsomely illustrated . . . Succinct, scholarly essays . . . explore major themes in Western art and the enduring legacy of Plains Indian culture.”—Brian W. Dippie, True West

“Insightful”—Stephen May, Antiques and the Arts Weekly

ISBN: 9780300197389
Publication Date: December 10, 2013
Publishing Partner: Published in association with the High Museum of Art
176 pages, 12 x 10
244 color + 60 b/w illus.