American western art movement | The voice of Apopka

The history of art is brilliantly painted with a number of different movements. From the dramatic flair of the Baroque era to the religious resurgence of the Renaissance, there are an almost limitless number of topics that artists have tackled over the centuries.

In America, one of the greatest artistic movements has been the American Western Art Movement. Adventure imbued with a wild west painting to the natural beauty of a landscape, it is a movement that has a lot to offer viewers.

what’s in a name

The American Western Art Movement actually goes by many different names. As a person

learns it, they might hear it calling Cowboy Art, Western Art, Old West Art, or

American border art. It is because there is not a single title for it as for times like the

Impressionist movement.

Generally, the accepted starting point for this period dates back to 1840. Interestingly, the period does not have a specific stopping date and the subjects of the paintings are popular among artists even to this day.

Acceptance over time

Many artists whom art historians and the general public today regard as masters have not received in their lives the fame that one would expect. Likewise, the idea of ​​Western American art was not always as widely accepted as it is today. Now, however, the art form is considered a major movement.

Substance over style

Unlike movements such as Post-Impressionism or Baroque art, Western American art

The movement was not linked to the technique. When a viewer looks at a gallery of this art, they are likely to see several different styles. This is because the Western American art movement is bound by substance, not style.

Topics such as ranchers and cowboys and even western landscapes come into the picture.

category of Western American art, but where one could focus on colors and the other on hyperrealistic brushstrokes, both would be considered in this category.

It wasn’t just the east-to-west artist movement that filled this genre, either. the

movement is also often used to encompass art that Native Americans also created.

Western American art as propaganda for the West

Tracing Western American art back to its origins, he had a suggested goal in addition to simply

capture the beauty of western landscapes and the details of life. That is to say at all

least, the art created was used for a different purpose from aesthetic appeal in the days of the American pioneer.

Back then, there was no publicity that the company has today. Powerful cameras weren’t there to take beautiful, bright images for travel brochures. There was certainly no way to create advertisements like the ones modern consumers hear on their favorite apps or see on TV.

As such, these paintings were taken and used as an incentive. At the time, the United States was expanding its borders and wanted to colonize its western border. To do this, they needed a lot of people interested in settling in the West. So these paintings were used to intrigue people and hopefully encourage them to relocate to the West.


For example, the image of a cowboy swinging a lasso above his head might convey a sense of

adventure in the viewer. Alternatively, a beautiful landscape could encourage the idea of ​​an idyllic life in the West.

The missing piece of the use of propaganda

Yet this is not called propaganda for no reason. Life in the West was not easy, but of course some artists chose to capture that. It’s difficult to settle a new front, and it can take hard work and even the sacrifice of life to pursue concepts like the American idea of ​​Manifest Destiny.

The art that often found its place in propaganda focused largely on what the western frontier could offer rather than the sacrifices it required. After all, propaganda, at its core, is a method of advertising. Showing people how much more difficult their lives would become in the West wouldn’t get people out.

So, for propaganda purposes, much of the art that adorned magazines at the time was

idyllic representations of the west. Today, this has led to the expression of “the imagined West”. It is the western landscape that many attribute to children’s play today. A world of adventurous cowboys and heroic duels in front of the city saloons.

Now, as the time of colonization is well over, the paintings of artists showing a more

historically accurate representation of the West have achieved their just fame.

The Western American art movement has spanned generations, styles, and goals. From the West imagined in the art of propaganda to the difficulties shown in paintings more faithful to the story, it is a genre that continues to give and has grown from a less than respectable position to fame than he deserves.

Norma D. Ross