Date of this Version
Great Plains Quarterly Vol. 27, No. 4, Fall 2007, pp. 299-300.
In 1985, the final year of its travels, the Gund Collection of Western Art was exhibited at the C. M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana. Museum visitors still talk about the show more than twenty years later. I was fortunate enough to view it at several venues, including the Oklahoma Museum of Art in 1980, and was struck not only by the wealth of western art, but also by the vision and perseverance of collectors like George Gund. It is a great pleasure to know that his collection will reside in perpetuity for the public to enjoy along with that of another great collector, Harrison Eiteljorg-at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.
Suzan Campbell's tribute to both collectors, Out of the West: the Gund Collection of Western Art, catalogues the collection and offers insight into its creation and the importance of individual pieces. The chronological format demonstrates the breadth of Gund 's collection, beginning with early nineteenth-century documentary portraits of Native peoples by Charles Bird King and George Cook. American artists such as Alfred Jacob Miller, Thomas Moran, Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, and Charles Schreyvogel follow, and Campbell relates the ways in which these artists integrated the geography and people of the Great Plains into their work.
Along with concise biographical treatments of the artists and analyses of their works, Campbell relates how these works fit within their artists' larger oeuvre: Moran's 1888 etching Mountain of the Holy Cross with his monumental painting from thirteen years earlier, as well as the trip the artist made in 1874 to see the site; Remington's 1897 ink wash The Brave Cheyennes Were Running Through the Frosty Hills, created to illustrate his short story "A Sergeant of the Orphan Troop," published in August of the same year in Harper's New Monthly Magazine; and Schreyvogel's oil Off for Town (1902), based on his Colorado Plains and Arizona experiences.