Denver Exhibition Pairs 50 Western American Art Masterpieces With Period Artifacts

  • DENVER, Colorado
  • /
  • April 03, 2017

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Charles Marion Russell, In the Enemy’s Country, 1921. Oil on canvas; 40 x 51 1/2 inches. Denver Art Museum, Gift of the Magness Family in memory of Betsy Magness. 1991.751
Maynard Dixon, Wide Lands of the Navajo, 1945. Oil on canvas-covered academy board; 24 x 38 inches. Denver Art Museum. 2013.100

Backstory: Western American Art in Context pairs nearly 50 masterpieces from the Denver Art Museum’s renowned collection with History Colorado’s wealth of artifacts to tell the stories beyond the art.

History Colorado has opened a major new exhibition at the History Colorado Center in Denver. The newly developed exhibition, sponsored by the Sturm Family Foundation, features 50 iconic works from the Denver Art Museum’s Petrie Institute of Western American Art displayed alongside historic artifacts from History Colorado’s collection. This collaboration between two of Denver’s cultural institutions offers visitors a rare museum experience.


Spanning the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries, Backstory interweaves artworks and historical artifacts to immerse viewers in the American West’s stories of cultural diversity, inspirational landscapes, new beginnings, and romantic spirit.

Within the 8,500-square-foot gallery, visitors will take a chronological journey through the American West. The exhibition features treasured artifacts from the History Colorado collection such as ancestral Puebloan pottery, Civil War artifacts, and Rockmount clothing. They are displayed in galleries alongside iconic works of Western American art like Albert Bierstadt's and Thomas Moran's scenic landscapes, Frederic Remington's sculptures, and George Catlin’s striking painting The Cutting Scene.

Cowboy Boot Spurs of John M. Kuykendall, 1880-90.
History Colorado

“The Petrie Institute of Western American Art has a significant collection of historical and contemporary works reflecting the American west,” said Christoph Heinrich, director of the Denver Art Museum. “We are delighted to be collaborating with History Colorado on Backstory, and offering western American art lovers the opportunity to explore one of DAM’s most beloved collections in a new dialogue with History Colorado’s amazing historical artifacts.”

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Spencer Helfen Fine Arts - Special Exhibition

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