Continuing to Inspire

Tucson’s Museum of Art’s new exhibit explores the Western sublime

| By Andrew Schaeffer

Art may have changed over the past century, but the inspiration artists get from the serene desert landscape has not. And that’s just what the newest exhibit at Tucson Museum of Art showcases. Featuring 50 paintings, photographs, and textiles from museums around the country, The Western Sublime: Majestic Landscapes of the American West juxtaposes works of art of the West from the 19th century with pieces produced more than a century later.

In the mid-to-late 19th century, daring artists traveled the wagon trails and painted and photographed the sublime beauty they saw, capturing the emotional and spiritual nature of the landscape to instill awe. These artists documented the natural phenomena of the area, from the immense sprawling deserts to the vibrantly colorful Grand Canyon. These were the first images of the West seen by the public, and gave rise to the majestic beauty that drew idyllic dreams westward-bound.

More than a century later, living artists are following in the footsteps of those who brought the West to the world and showcasing the natural scenery through their own methods through all types of media. In addition to the romantic Western ideal, many artists examine the environmental, cultural, and social issues related to the land and educate viewers through their art.

Don’t miss your chance to see the evolution of Western art from the first works to today at The Western Sublime in the museum’s main gallery from Oct. 19, 2019 through Feb. 9, 2020.