Stark Museum of Art

Orange, TX



William Herbert Dunton, The Old West Revisited


A new exhibit, William Herbert Dunton, The Old West Revisited will be on display starting Thursday June 21, 2001 and running through May 2002. Featured are forty-three works by William Herbert "Buck"Dunton including a broad representation of paintings, drawings and prints documenting the artist's development over the years. Especially notable is a series of early book and magazine illustrations as well as numerous animal paintings, figure studies and abstract exercises in color and form.

Growing up on family farms in rural Maine, William Herbert Dunton (1878-1936) loved the outdoor life, especially hunting and fishing. Mostly a self-taught artist, he found in the American West a fitting subject for his art. He made his living for several years as a commercial artist in New York City, creating illustrations for the novels of Zane Grey and Willa Cather and contributing regularly to such magazines as Harper's Weekly, Scribner's, Colliers and Cosmopolitan. Following a trip to Montana in 1896 in search of new subject matter for his paintings, he returned to the West nearly every year for the next 15 years to sketch and paint animals, landscapes and ranching life. He met Ernest L. Blumenschein in New York in 1911 and enrolled in one of Blumenschein's classes at the Art Students League. At Blumenschein's urging he visited Taos, New Mexico in 1912 and joined the Taos Society of Artists that same year. In 1921 he settled permanently in Taos. (above left: The Cowpunchers, oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches, Stark Museum of Art, 31.21/46)

Unlike many of the Taos artists, who painted either local Pueblo and Spanish life, Dunton stuck with his favorite themes, western "old-timers" and wildlife. In time, his paintings gained a measure of popularity, especially in Texas and Oklahoma, although Dunton collectors were wide-ranging, including Douglas Fairbanks, Franklin Roosevelt, and his most important patron, H.J. Lutcher Stark of Orange, Texas. The Stark Museum holds the largest collection of Dunton paintings and illustrations.


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For further biographical information please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 5/28/11

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