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Born near Falling Waters, West Virginia on a plantation a year after the Civil War, and raised in Baltimore, William Leigh became one of the foremost painters of the American West with a career of seventy-five years. Some people referred to him as the "Sagebrush Rembrandt". Trips to the Southwest began in 1906 when he made an agreement with William Simpson, Santa Fe Railway advertising manager, to paint the Grand Canyon in exchange for free transportation West. In 1907, he completed his Grand Canyon painting, which led to many more commissions and an extensive painting trip through Arizona and New Mexico. These travels inspired him to paint western subjects for the next 50 years, but it was not until the 1940s that he received much recognition. He painted in the Southwest nearly every summer between 1912 and 1926 and focused on the Hopi and Navajo Indians. In 1910, he traveled to Wyoming, where he painted in Yellowstone Park and did sketches, many which he later converted into large canvases such as "Lower Falls of the Yellowstone"(1915) and "Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone" (1911). His style was realistic, and his palette invariably had the Southwestern hues of soft pinks, reds, yellows and purples. In fact, his critics who knew little of the Southwest accused him of fabricating the colors. Many of his works are at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In March, 1999, the Historical Center of Cody, Wyoming held an exhibition of his field sketches and finished works depicting his experiences near Cody, Wyoming in the early part of the century, between 1910 and 1921. These years, many which he spent painting in the Carter Mountain vicinity, were considered crucial to his artistic development because he was exposed to western landscape. His companion during these travels was Cody taxidermist Will Richard who stirred his interest in wildlife.
Lacaze was a painter who was heavily influenced by Cubism and Post-Cubism, particularly by fellow Bordeaux painters such as André L’Hote. He was born in Angoulême, Charente and studied at the Lycée Montaigne in Bordeaux and it was there, under an inspirational art master, that his desire to be an artist was initiated. He enrolled at L’École des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux and studied under André Edouard Marty. At first, his style was decidedly Cubist, showing the influence of Picasso through the aforementioned L’Hote. However he softened the linear effect somewhat as his career developed and this is particularly apparent in his paintings of nudes. He staged his first solo exhibition in Paris in Rue Visconti quite soon after leaving art school. He also exhibited through his career at other locations in Paris, his home city of Bordeaux, Sainte Maxine, Angoulême and Périgueux but he seems not to have had a particularly commercial attitude to his work apparently sometimes not even turning up to the opening nights. Lacaze was appointed Professor of Fine Art at Collège de Puyguillen and also joined the artistic group Maison des Artistes. Exhibitions: Paris, Galerie Visconiti; Périgueux, N.T.P.; Angoulême, Galerie Tison d’Argence; Bordeaux, Galerie du Loup; Sainte Maxine, Galerie L’Oleil Fauve. The Musée des Beaux Arts de Bordeaux also exhibited his work.
A painter of pop-art realism combined with a great respect for traditional methods and subject matter, Wayne Thiebaud is one of the most prominent of the Bay Area painters in California in the latter part of the 20th century. His reputation spread far beyond his own state. In his painting, he focuses on the commonplace in a way that suggests irony and objective distance from his subjects. He also makes a point of keeping an independent distance from the New York art scene. He was born in Mesa, Arizona, in 1920, and for one summer during his high school years he apprenticed at the Walt Disney Studio and then studied at an Los Angeles trade school the next summer. He earned a degree from Sacramento State College in 1941. From 1938 to 1949, he worked as a cartoonist and designer in California and New York and served as an artist in the United States Army. In 1950, at the age of thirty, he enrolled in Sacramento State where he earned a Master's Degree in 1952 and began teaching at Sacramento City College. In 1960, he became assistant professor at the University of California, Davis, where he remained through the 1970s and influenced numerous artist students. However, he did not have much following among Conceptualists because of his adherence to basically traditional disciplines, emphasis on hard work rather than creativity, and love of realism. On a leave of absence, he spent time in New York City where he became friends with Willem De Kooning and Franz Kline and was much influenced by these abstractionists as well as Pop Artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. During this time, he began a series of very small paintings based on images of food displayed in windows, and he focused on their basic shapes. Returning to California, he pursued this subject matter and style, isolating triangles, circles, squares, etc. He also co-founded the Artists Cooperative gallery, now Artists Contemporary Gallery, and other cooperatives including Pond Farm, having been exposed to the concept of cooperatives in New York. In 1960, he had his first one-man shows in San Francisco at the Museum of Art and New York at the Staempfli and Tanager galleries. These shows received little notice, but two years later, a 1962 New York Sidney Janis Gallery exhibition officially launching Pop Art, brought him national recognition although he disclaimed being anything other than a painter of illusionistic form. In 1963, he turned increasingly to figure painting, wooden and rigid with each detail sharply emphasized; in 1967 his work was shown at the Biennale Internationale, and in 1985, he was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.