Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on May 26, 1974 · Page 60
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 60

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 26, 1974
Page 60
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Page 60 article text (OCR)

"Buffalo Muni/'' oil on canvas by Charles \1. Russell. The Men Who Really Won the West The Wicked Pony." bronze by F. S. Reminjrton. By Harold C. Gadd There are uncounted thousands of novels and movie films based on "the winning of the West," but most fall somewhat short. By and large.such works depict how a vast territory was violently wrested away from its Indian tenants, who had, themselves, taken it by force from an u n k n o w n , earlier race. The Old West, which still h a s a n a l m o s t h y p n o t i c world-wide appeal h a l f - a century a f t e r i t vanished, was really won--or captured-by a small handful of romantic artists, who arrived on the scene just before it was finally obliterated. W i t h o u t exception, they were in love w i t h a vast, b e a u t i f u l and often b r u t a l land as it was in the epic season of its history. As restless, ambitious, adventurous men, they were drawn westward by the same forces that drew t h o u s a n d s , then millions, from the East and Europe. As artists, they recorded with camera-like detail the men and scenes that e x e m p l i f i e d the mood and spirit of the land. For everyone who went West, there u n d o u b t e d l y were thousands who wanted to go, but did not. The late Cleveland financier, George Gund. tasted the Far West in early life, b u t r e l u c t a n t l y opted for a career away from it. His solution was to surround himself with artistic works that held the flavor of the land he could not have. Knowing there were thousands of others like himself, the year before his death in N o v e m b e r , 1966, he arranged for his collection to be viewed by a wide public. Since his death, his family has worked to fufill his desire. Next Sunday, June 2. the Gund Collection of Western Art will go on exhibit at Sunrise. In many respects, it is priceless: 71 pieces by the acknowledged masters of the genre. Included are works by Charles M. Russell, Frederic S. Remington, Charles Schreyvogel, West Virginia's own William R. Leigh. Frank Tenney Johnson, Edward Borein, Will James. Alfred Jacob Miller, Ernest Tonk and others. The collection includes a cross section of the symbolic giants who lived in the Epic West: the Indian, the Mountain Man, the Cavalry Dragoon, and that most familiar symbol of them all, the Cowboy. This long after the era vanished, the Gund collection probably is as close as you will ever get to the Old West. The exhibit will close June 23.

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