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Michael Clawson, Executive Editor, Western Art Collector wrote, “Originally painted in late 2016 and early 2017, Where Land Meets Sky made its debut at the 2017 Masters of the American West exhibition at the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles. The painting was part of a pivotal year at the Masters, one in which Hagege won the Thomas Moran Memorial Award for Painting for a large piece titled The Heart of Everything, which hung next to Where Land Meets Sky in the gallery. The coveted Thomas Moran Award had previously been given to Howard Terpning for 11 consecutive years beginning in 2005. The iconic artist turned illustrator, Terpning, then approaching 90 years old, had retired from museum exhibitions the year before, though he was in attendance at the 2017 exhibition. When Hagege’s name was called during the awards ceremony, the importance of his recognition could be felt in the crowd – the old guard was ceding to the new.

“The work itself is Hagege at his purest: The natural rock formations stand with a resolute power. The two figures, arranged in a way to call out to the land forms behind them, are subdued and yet dignified and timeless. His golden light radiates warmth as it rakes across the rock spires. Each element is a form of balance, from the detail in the figures’ faces and the simplified renderings of the sky, to the intricate patterns in the Navajo blankets and the jagged order of cracks and shadows on the towering cliff walls. Even the title, Where Land Meets Sky, is uniting two thematic elements – the terrestrial with the celestial. Hagege is famously shy about revealing his intentions with his paintings, preferring to allow viewers to respond in their own way. When I see one of his works I see a union of flesh and rock, sand and sage, land and sky. His monuments are not just the features in the landscape, but also the people, their histories, their lives and their dreams.”

Coeur d’Alene Art Auction, Reno, Nevada, 2020
Private collection, Reno, Nevada

Masters of the American West, Autry Museum of the American West, Los Angeles, California, 2017

Desert Survey, Maxwell Alexander Gallery, 2018, pp. 52-53, illustrated

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