The American West in Bronze

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“The American West in Bronze,” now showing at the Denver Art Museum, is the largest collection of bronze artwork ever in one show, and includes works created between 1850 and 1925.

“The American West in Bronze,” now showing at the Denver Art Museum, is the largest collection of bronze artwork ever in one show, and includes works created between 1850 and 1925. The exhibit includes four themes: Native Americans, Cowboys, Wildlife, and Pioneers.

In the Native American section, the largest, there are artists like Frederic Remington, one of the first artists to work in bronze. Most of the sculptures in this section were made using sand casting, which creates a texture that makes the statuettes seem more life-like and allowed the artists to add more detail. However, the co-curator’s favorite piece was made by using a wax mold.

The Cowboy section included Remington’s first, famous bronze sculpture, “Bronco Buster.” The statues in this section show cowboys with their horses and, since when I think of the West, I always think of cowboys and horses, this section really captures the Wild West for me.

My favorite part of the exhibit is the wildlife. Museum employees and volunteers call this section “the zoo.” They call it that because, when the artists sculpted animals, they didn’t sculpt them after seeing them in the wild. Instead, the artists sculpted them from studying them in zoos. Artists were attracted to animals that were only found in the West, like buffalos or bears, and one of the buffalo statues was turned into a public monument in Washington DC.

The last section was the Pioneers. Women were often featured in this section because the statues were made during the suffrage movement, when women were trying to get the right to vote, but the section also includes statues of prospectors mining gold.

This exhibit is not only educational but also unique. The bronze pieces in the exhibit were all made in the same 75 year time period and, after visiting it, I not only knew more about Western America, but I appreciated the art more, knowing that each artist constructed these pieces through hard labor.

I recommend this exhibit to all families: however, you better hurry because it is only at the museum for limited time.