Out of the Blue

Ride Through the Desert

William Herbert Dunton (1878–1936), Sunset in the Foothills, 1930, oil on canvas, Stark Museum of Art, Orange, Texas

The rip-roaring image of the American West seen by film audiences in the early 1900s was tempered by such artworks as William Herbert Dunton’s Sunset in the Foothills, displayed in the Museum of Art’s exhibit Branding the American West: Paintings and Films 1900–1950. In this 1930 painting, a solemn hunter on horseback melds into surrounding sagebrush.

An illustrator and one-time cowboy, Dunton was drawn to the American West for its sun-scorched, monumental landscapes and the peoples who inhabited them. “His love of the outdoors and the ranching life helped him develop his Western style,” says exhibit curator Marian E. Wardle (BA ’73, MA ’88). After he settled in New Mexico, Dunton and five other artists founded the Taos Society of Artists in 1915.

The society’s artwork, owned by the Stark Museum of Art, has been combined with Western films and BYU’s Maynard Dixon collection for this exhibit, on display through Aug. 13.

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