Fifty years ago, four prominent Arizona artists who shared a fervent desire to authentically preserve and perpetuate the culture of Western life in fine art formed the Cowboy Artists of America (CAA).
To mark the CAA’s golden anniversary and the contributions of its artists to fine art and western culture, Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West is presenting the exhibition “A Salute to Cowboy Artists of America and a Patron, the Late Eddie Basha: 50 Years of Amazing Contributions to the American West” November 7, 2015 through May 31, 2016.
The 50th anniversary exhibition features one or more artworks by each of the 77 artists who has ever been a member of the prestigious CAA organization. In addition, it pays tribute to the late Eddie Basha. The prominent Arizona grocer was a passionate collector of Western art who took as much joy in getting to know the artists as in acquiring their artworks.
Basha’s legacy includes the largest privately owned collection of contemporary Western American and American Indian art in the country. The exhibition includes artworks on loan from The Eddie Basha Collection, as well as loaned artworks from CAA artists and numerous private and public collections.
Having the 50th anniversary CAA exhibition at Scottsdale’s Museum of the West is especially fitting, given CAA’s deep roots in Arizona and the museum’s emphasis on telling the stories of the 19 Western states. “The CAA artists carry on the centuries-old tradition of storytelling in the American West,” commented exhibit curator Tricia Loscher. “Their visual narratives created in diverse mediums convey the spirit of the West, and keep it alive.”
CAA Past President Bill Nebeker of Prescott, Arizona commented, “The state’s beautiful, diverse and unique landscape, its Native peoples’ reservations, the many ranches and working cowboys, all added to the reasons it began here. Having Joe Beeler, George Phippen, Johnny Hampton and Charlie Dye (the CAA founders) living and painting in Arizona was a godsend for Arizona and the late 20th century renaissance of Western art.”
According to Martin Grelle, CAA artist and Chairman of CAA 50th Anniversary Events, since the organization’s inception its members have sought to pursue the highest quality in their work. “They have become recognized as the leaders in the field of Western representational art,” he said. “Not only have CAA artists been widely collected as individuals, but their annual show (at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City) has been the catalyst and a model for most of the other popular art sales which have come into being during the past 50 years.”
“It is a privilege and delight for our new museum to be welcoming back to the Valley an organization that for decades made an extraordinary impact in our arts community,” commented Michael J. Fox, Director and CEO of Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. “The dedication, creativity, passion, and love of the American West as seen through past and current members’ artistic expression have benefited many museums, galleries, artists, art historians and educators, art patrons and collectors, and students.”
Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West celebrates the art, history, and unique stories of the 19 states comprising the American West. The museum, which opened January 15, 2015, is located in downtown Scottsdale’s arts district.
Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West
480-686-9539, ext. 219
3830 N. Marshall Way
About Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West
Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West celebrates the art, history, and unique stories of the 19 states of the American West. It features hundreds of historical and contemporary paintings and sculptures by a wide range of artists, plus ongoing exhibitions of authentic Old West artifacts. The museum opened in January 2015 in downtown Scottsdale, Arizona.