Image & Imagination:
Art of the American West

The imagination of man is naturally sublime, delighted with whatever is remote and extraordinary,
and running, without control, into the most distant parts of space and time
in order to avoid the objects, which custom has rendered too familiar to it.
David Hume, Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding, 1777
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Artists and photographers working in the American West
created images that were often accepted as documentation of these previously
unseen landscapes and native peoples.
This exhibition invites the viewer to revisit some of these images
while considering the voices of the time that express a variety of opinions on the progress of western development and provide a thought-provoking, often poignant counterpoint to the visual interpretations of the west.


Documenting
Westward Expansion

St. Louis, Missouri, Broadway Avenue, in the Illustrated London News, May 1, 1858 As America expanded westward, artists provided images that would make
these unexplored regions and frontier cities visible to an eager audience in the East.


Revealing an
Unseen Landscape

J.R. Meeker, View on the Meramec River, 1872 Newly discovered western landscapes inspired awe and wonder in the artists who depicted them and became symbols of Manifest Destiny for the American audience
that viewed them.


Portraying the Native American

Oscar Berninghaus, Return to the Pueblo,1917 From Charles M. Russell's dramatic sculptures to the photographs of Edward Curtis, artists have presented very different perspectives on Native American life.