original pen and ink drawings, represents an impressive body of work by this Western and Danish-American artist. Wieghorst, who was self-taught, was interested in creating works of art as well as documenting the story of the Old West. Painting in the same tradition of Remington and Russell, his artwork included themes of horses, Indian peoples, the U.S. Cavalry, cowboys as well as Southwestern landscapes. He drew from his experiences as a trick rider for a circus, a member of the U.S. 5th Cavalry patrolling the Mexican border, a cowboy in Arizona and New Mexico, and a member of the New York City Mounted Police. He retired in El Cajon, California where he worked until his death in 1987, recapturing in his paintings and prints the West he had known as a trooper and cowboy. The exhibition is on loan from the Danish Immigrant Museum in Elkhorn, Iowa. (www.dkmuseum.org and www.wieghorstmuseum.org)
Samuels' Encyclopedia Of Artists Of The American West by Peggy and Harold Samuels; Book Sales, Inc., 1985. says of Wieghorst:
" (He) specialized in horses of the West and was
known for as an illustrator and sculptor. Wieghorst was the son of a display
artist and photograph retoucher who became an engraver. He was educated
in the Copenhagen public schools. Interest in horses developed while he
apprenticed in a store and on a farm so he began painting in 1916. While
working as a sailor in 1918, he jumped ship in New York City where he
enlisted in the U. S. Cavalry for a duty on the Mexican border. During
his three years of military service as a horseshoer, he learned rodeoing
and trick riding. He was mustered out in Arizona, finding work as a ranch
hand on the Quarter Circle 2C Ranch whose brand became Wieghorst's insignia.
In 1923, he returned to New York City, graduating from the Police Academy
in 1925. Assigned to the Police Show Team of the Mounted Division, Wieghorst
began to paint in his spare time. In 1940, he found an agent for his paintings
which immediately sold them as calendar art and as Western illlustrations.
By 1942, he was receiving commissions for horse portraits and bronzes.
In 1944, Wieghorst retired from the Police Department, settling in El
Cajon, California in 1945. By 1955, he had a waiting list of buyers. "I
try to paint the little natural things, the way a horse turns his tail
to the wind on cold nights, the way he flattens his ears in the rain,
seasonal changes in the coat of a horse, and psychology of his behavior.
Horses have been my life."
©2001 Art World Western Heritage Gallery