Western History / Genealogy > The Western Art Collection

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Artwork is an integral part of the Western History collection. The library collects works of original art and other illustrative materials of historical and aesthetic interest. This comprehensive art collection includes work by master artists who have made important contributions to the study of the West. Rare and important works by Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran and Alfred Jacob Miller figure prominently in the collection. Prints include fine examples of George Catlin's North American Indian Portfolio, as well as engravings and lithographs after Karl Bodmer, James Otto Lewis and Charles Bird King.
Currier & Ives Lithograph
Currier & Ives Lithograph

The library's Western art collection also includes paintings and works on paper by significant artists of the Rocky Mountain region, including Charles Partridge Adams, Richard Tallant, Harvey Otis Young and Helen Chain. The collection is especially strong in its abundance of original artwork by these 19th century landscapists who painted in Colorado, inspired by the mountain scenery. This includes work by many of the women, such as Henrietta Bromwell, Elisabeth Spalding, Emma Richardson Cherry, who were active figures in the Denver Artists' Club and were instrumental in the eventual founding of the Denver Art Museum. Through these regional artists, one can trace the beginnings of organized art activity in Colorado.

The collection includes leading Denver artists of the early 20th century, including work by Henry Read, head of the Denver Art Commission, Allen Tupper True and Frank Mechau, Colorado's leading muralists, and master etcher, George Elbert Burr. The department has original artwork by leading Colorado artists who participated in the Federal Art Project of the 1930s. They include Edgar Britton, Nadine Drummond, Ethel Magafan and Louise and Arnold Ronnebeck. We have continued collecting through the mid-20th century and the collection includes the work of Colorado modernists such as John E. Thompson, William Sanderson, Vance Kirkland and Angelo Di Benedetto.

Karl Bodmer's Mandan Warrior
Karl Bodmer portrait of a Mandan warrior.

The Western History art collection is viewed and enjoyed by art connoisseurs, students of all ages, and the general public. It is an easily accessible research tool for those studying the history of art in the West and, as such, is an indispensable part of the department's holdings in American western history.


The watercolor below of the Navarre Cafe is from our Herndon Davis series of historical buildings in Denver.

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Click for larger version

"Estes Park, Colorado" by Albert Bierstadt, 1877



Western Art Tour

Southern Colorado Farm Sale Denver from Highlands Pikes Peak Night Herd Independent Gold Hunter Arresting Cattle Thieves Snowscene

A selection from our collection [click thumbnails for enlargements]


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