Contemporary Western Art: Reviving the Old West in a New Light

January 12, 2022
Contemporary Western Art: Reviving the Old West in a New Light

Rugged cowboys. Saddled horses. Towering mountains. Finely decorated teepees. These are some of the many traditional icons of the Old West. For decades, these familiar images have been woven into the fabric of Western artwork. Each creation has preserved the heart and story of the Wild West, informing and entertaining future generations.


As the years have passed and the Wild West has transformed into a technologically-advanced landscape, modern artists now seek to keep the spirit of Western life alive through their work. By reviving the iconography of the Old West through their own, unique lenses, modern artists have not only preserved the stories of the past, but they’ve showcased new or forgotten stories. This reawakening of the Old West through modern artwork has birthed a new era in the world of art: Contemporary Western art.



Contemporary Western art showcases in a modern light the traditional iconography of Western life. Whether it’s through paintings, photography, digital art, or sculptures, contemporary western art stretches beyond the limits of past mediums to embrace new art forms. Like Contemporary art, Contemporary Western art is Western art created today, though it embraces the images and styles of past generations of Western art.



At Courtney Collins Fine Art, our gallery is filled with some of the finest works of contemporary western art in the nation. We love to preserve and showcase the soul of the Old West in our gallery, so we feature a wide range of contemporary western artists, many of them renowned worldwide for their talent. Here are several of the talented artists whose works of art we house in our gallery:



They say to write what you know, but Duke Beardsley paints what he knows: the working cowboy lifestyle. As a sixth-generation Colorado native, Duke says he has painted and drawn the American West for as long as he can remember. To draw inspiration for his paintings, he rides with ranch crews to document and participate in the lifestyle of modern working cowboys and cowgirls. His paintings blend traditional Western icons with contemporary art sensibilities. View our collection of Duke Beardsley paintings.



From oil paintings to vintage toys, Bradford Overton doesn’t shy away from telling real Western stories through his art. Whether it’s a painting of a Native American brave or a toy cowboy riding a colorful steed, Bradford balances a playful approach to art with keen attention to telling the truth of Western history and not overly romanticizing it. Bradford has been featured in galleries and museums across America, including recent exhibitions in the Arcadia Gallery in Los Angeles and the Coda Gallery in New York City. View our collection of Bradford Overton vintage Western toys.



Howard Post’s unique interpretations of the American West are simply iconic. Distinguished by personal involvement with his subject, Howard’s paintings depict everyday life as a westerner using strong shapes and patterns. His use of colors, texture, and vivid imagination bring his subjects to life and revive the romance of the American West. Howard’s works have been featured in the top galleries in the United States, including the Smithsonian and the National Cowboy and Heritage Museum. View our collection of Howard Post paintings.



Dennis Ziemiensk, a California native, depicts Western life at the beginning of the 19th century. Inspired by the dawn of rodeos, automobiles, and the railroad, Dennis juxtaposes the rugged, gritty lifestyle of the American cowboy alongside the rise of Modernism. “I like that period of time because it hasn’t been well recorded,” Dennis said. “You don’t see a lot of paintings of cowboys sitting in Model T Fords. But they did – and right alongside their horses.” Dennis draws much of his inspiration for his richly colored images from early 20th century posters and paintings. He has won dozens of awards for his artwork and has had commissions from the New York Times, the 2006 Kentucky Derby, and Rolling Stone, among others. View our collection of Dennis Ziemienski paintings.



To experience the beauty and nostalgia of these works of Contemporary Western art in person, visit Courtney Collins Fine Art. We feature a wide variety of modern Western artwork for sale both online and in-person at our gallery located in the heart of Big Sky, Montana. Stop by the gallery today and learn more about our upcoming art events in our gallery blog.

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