HOCKADAY MUSEUM of ART
Gateway to Montana's Artistic Legacy
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Exhibit Archives

The Horse in Flathead Valley Collections
August 25 through October 21

Showcasing the beauty we all find in the horse and the passion and creativity that the spirit of the horse inspires in all who are touched by its presence

The Horse in Flathead Valley Collections” is a fine exhibition of work encompassing images of the horse as it has evolved through art history. Paintings and sculptures for this exhibit include works from the Museum’s permanent collection and works loaned from artists and from private collections around the valley. The exhibit ranges from historical artists to contemporary, including works by O.C. Seltzer, Edward Borien, Shorty Shope, E.E. Heikka, as well as local artists Nancy Dunlop Cawdrey, Betsey Hurd, Eric Kaplan, Karen Young, and others
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Sponsored by The Wallace Foundation and Rebecca Farm

Where the Green Grass Grows, by Nancy Cawdrey
Where The Green Grass Grows, silk painting, 22 1/2 x 32 inches, by Nancy Dunlop Cawdrey

Gallery Guide with information about the artists included in this exhibition

For thousands of years the image of the horse can be found in art and communications, beginning with the pristine man drawing on the walls of ancient caves to contemporary artists new west depictions of the magnificent equine. Romantic depictions of the horse can be found in images as old as ancient Greece and ancient Egypt.  Through the centuries, equine imagery continued to mature. In the age of the Renaissance, we found anatomically and proportionally correct depictions of the horse in the sculptures and drawings by Italian artists Donatello (1386-1466) and Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). Through art history we continue to see the horse develop in the European movements of classicism, romanticism, realism and impressionism. But, in America’s comparatively young art history, we find a new movement that stems from its European counterpart but is uniquely its own style - the western American art movement.

For centuries the horse has had many utilitarian uses but today, one could argue that its most prized use is that of aesthetic pleasure.


In America, we were caught up with the horse and the many significant uses. The horse was our trusted companion, our transportation, beast of burden and vehicle for war. We had draft, race and hunting horses for sport. Western American artist Fredric Remington (1861-1909) can be looked at as the Donatello of American artists. His horses possess both the harmony found in the renaissance masters’ work and the romantic qualities of notable Spanish artist E. Delacroix (1798-1863). In America, particularly the west, we have to look at the development of the horse beginning with the primitive style found in the work of George Catlin (1796-1872) and Carl Bodmer (1803-1893). Once we have examined their work, we can move on to the romantic era of the horse in American art with the works of H. W. Hanson (1854-1924), Edgar Paxson (1852-1919), Remington and W.R. Leigh (1866-1955) whose horses can be characterized by exaggerations such as: wide bulging eyes, flaring nostrils and exaggerated body movements. Aside from Remington’s style, we have the realism of the west found in the works of Charles M. Russell (1864-1926), Edward Borein (1872-1945), W. Herbert Dunton (1878-1936) and O.C. Seltzer (1877-1957). But, when we look at the art of Remington, Russell, Borein and others, we must observe that we have composition found in the outstanding, and very difficult to attain, photographs of L.A. Huffman (1854-1931) to thank. It was through the examination of Huffman’s photographs that we found many of the wonderful action shots and compositional studies that Remington, Russell and Borein worked from comfortably.

The image of the horse that has evolved through art movements that date back thousands of years and yet it is timeless.

Today, the New West is upon us. In European terms, it derives its influence from Impressionism and Postimpressionism combined with American Modernism. We have the bold and exaggerated use of colors, impressionistic use of space, and the redefinition of reality. But through it all, the magnificent image of the horse draws us in because of its familiarity; it is the image of the horse that has evolved through art movements that date back thousands of years and yet it is timeless. The image has inspired artists to paint it and collectors to savor it. For centuries the horse has had many utilitarian uses but today, one could argue that its most prized use is that of aesthetic pleasure.

Hockaday Museum of Art  
302 Second Ave. East, Kalispell, Montana, 59901

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