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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.
Born in Denver, CO on Aug. 7, 1897, Curtis was a resident of Seattle before moving to Los Angeles in 1914. He was inspired to become an artist by his teacher Rob Wagner at Manual Arts High School. After working as a bank teller and serving in WWI, he soon was able to support himself as an illustrator. He served as official artist of the U.S. Antarctica Expedition in 1939-40 and again in 1957. About 1960 he changed his residence from Los Angeles to Twenty Nine Palms, California, with summers in Moose, Wyoming. An avid mountain climber, his studio in the Grand Tetons was a rustic log cabin. In 1972 he moved to Carson City, Nevada, where he remained until his demise on March 17, 1989. He is best known for his landscapes of the High Sierra, Grand Tetons, and Antarctica. His works won dozens of medals and prizes from the early 1920s in southern California shows. Member: Carmel Art Association; Artland Club. Exh: California Art Club, 1923-27; Laguna Beach Art Association, 1924; California State Fair, 1926; Cannell & Chaffin Gallery (Los Angeles), 1926; Ebell Club (Los Angeles), 1926; Painters & Sculptors of Los Angeles, 1926-31; National Academy of Design, 1930; Toledo Museum, 1931; American Painters & Sculptors, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1931, 1937 (solo), 1946 (solo); Oakland Art Gallery, 1932; Tuesday Afternoon Club (Glendale), 1934; Golden Gate International Exhibition, 1939; California Palace Legion of
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