The American West Reimagined, by Dr. Larry Len Peterson


CHARLES M. RUSSELL (1864-1926), Piegans (1918), oil on canvas, 24 × 36 inches

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The American West Reimagined is a 528 page hardcover book, 12 × 12 inches, and features 560 spectacular color illustrations of past auction works. Now available for $85 (+$10 shipping) – order your copy online or by calling our office at 208-772-9009.

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An extremely limited edition of 50 leather-bound copies with slipcase of The American West Reimagined are available for $395 (shipping included).
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The American West Reimagined, by Dr. Larry Len Peterson


In this landmark publication, Western art historian Dr. Larry Len Peterson presents the sweeping story of the artists of the American West and their works in a fresh and enlightening tale. Western American art is a big tent, as expansive as the region’s history and land. It took birth in the nineteenth century in a time when Americans had an almost mythical belief and hope in the infinite potential of the West. The West was about making new, starting over, visions, myths, legends, dreams. Despite changing motivations that affected artists and their styles, their art spoke to citizens in a way never equaled by another region of the country in the history of our nation. Still, its significance changed over time. Seeing history, arresting a moment in time, capturing life by holding it still, is the power of the artist. Yet the history of the Western frontier only lasted two generations–a blink in time.


So what is Western American art? Legendary Western art historian Peter H. Hassrick wrote, “Western art is, in reality, a relatively simple thing to define: it is art that portrays scenes of the region that lies west of the Mississippi River and within the continental United States.” He added that its heyday was from 1825 to 1925. Some would add that the West was not a place, but a moment in time, a process, a beginning and an end.


Paralleling Western history were the lives of countless authors and artists who told its stories, myths, and legends. Diverse societies need stories, even myths and legends to delineate what they have in common. Yet history is more complicated than the stories we choose to remember or struggle to forget. Western American artists had their challenges.


This publication is divided into six parts: Part I. The Romantics: Nineteenth Century Artists in the World of Manifest Destiny and Darwinism; Part II. The Nostalgic: Charles M. Russell; Part III. The Searchers: Twentieth Century Artists Embrace the Mythology of the American West, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Hollywood; Part IV. The Sun Worshipers: The New Mexico Artists; Part V. The Storytellers: Illustrators, Sporting Artists, and Others; and Part VI. The Master: Howard Terpning. For two centuries, Western American art has defined who we were, who we are, and who we will be as Westerners. That’s a daunting task, and the challenge has resulted in kaleidoscopic adventures of starts and stops and changes in direction–much like shifting shadows.


Author Larry Len Peterson accompanies 560 spectacular color illustrations with introductory essays to each Part, along with accompanying profiles of 120 artists to provide a unique view of the artists’ historical and cultural milieu–a view at once panoramic and intimate. In the end, Western American art is not one art. It has many regions, styles, and forms, telling a complicated American story. It is a crazy quilt of Americana as diverse as country music. It’s never one thing and can be joyful, sad, and everything in between–captured rather than painted. Touching through time, Western American art makes hope and the West rhyme.

The American West Reimagined, by Dr. Larry Len Peterson


Western American art historian Dr. Larry Len Peterson is the Chair of the C.M. Russell Museum Board of Directors in Great Falls, Montana and the 2019 Montana Heritage Guardian Award recipient, the highest honor bestowed by the Montana Historical Society Board of Trustees in Helena. He is an award winning scientist, physician, cultural historian, and author. He graduated from the Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland and completed an internal medicine internship, a residency in the visual field of dermatology, and a NIH research fellowship. He has published dozens of articles in prestigious medical and scientific periodicals including The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and The Journal of Clinical Investigation.


His distinguished biographies include Charles M. Russell, Legacy: Printed and Published Works of Montana’s Cowboy Artist; Charles M. Russell, Photographing the Legend: A Biography in Words and Pictures; Philip R. Goodwin: America’s Sporting and Wildlife Artist; L.A. Huffman: Photographer of the American West; The Call of the Mountains: The Artists of Glacier National Park; John Fery: Artist of Glacier National Park & the American West; and Blackfeet John L. “Cutapuis” Clarke: America’s Wood Sculptor.


In its year-end Best of the West Collector’s Edition, the iconic True West Magazine rated Peterson 2018 Best Author and his American Trinity: Jefferson, Custer, and the Spirit of the West as 2018 Best Non-Fiction Book of the Year (out of 600 submitted). Its highly regarded book reviewer and editor Stuart Rosebrook, PhD, wrote, “The end result of Peterson’s introspective journey as an author, scientist and Westerner is his publication of the most reflective philosophical history of American history published in the past 50 years.”


Peterson is also the recipient of the C.M. Russell Heritage Award, Western Heritage Award, Scriver Award, High Plains Book Award, Will Rogers Gold Medallion Award, and the University of Nebraska Great Plains Book of the Month Selection.


Dr. Peterson lives with his wife LeAnne on their Spirit of Winter Ranch near Sisters, Oregon, in the shadow of the Three Sisters Mountains–Faith, Hope, and Charity.

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