The Western, Wildlife, & Sporting Art of Gerald Grace

This exhibit focuses on the Western, Wildlife and Sporting imagery that dominated Gerald Grace’s art in the 1970s and early 1980s…His classic ‘Cowboy and Indian’ imagery of the American Southwest was centered around the Apache lands of Arizona and the famous 20th C Western art colony in Taos, New Mexico.  The art of this period in Grace’s life also stretches further west to the California coast for his wildlife and sporting imagery, and south of the border into Mexico for other classic award-winning images…

Born ‘Out West’ in Bismark, North Dakota, Gerald Grace (1918-1994) lived out a productive art career as a resident of Santa Maria, CA for the majority of the 1970s-80s.  He lived in Santa Barbara for twenty years prior to that, during the 1950s-1970s.  Previously to that, he lived in Seattle, Washington for more than twenty years (1930s-1950s).

It was in Seattle that he received his art education and was active in the art community.  He served as president of both the Northwest Watercolor Society and the Puget Sound Group of Northwest Painters.  In 1954 he became a member of the prestigious American Watercolor Society.  While a Seattle resident he served for ten years as Educational Director and Exhibition Coordinator of the Frye Art Museum.  He refused an offer to become Chairman of the Art Department of Seattle University in order to devote all his energies to painting.

He was a regular participant in the Northwest Annuals at the Seattle Art Museum, the invitational shows at the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, the West Coast Oil Exhibitions and invitational shows at the Frye Art Museum.

It was in Seattle that Gerald Grace met Eustace Paul Ziegler, who became a friend, mentor and one of his strongest artistic influences. Eustace Ziegler not only influenced Grace and his art, but became the instructor and primary influence of many Seattle-area artists in the second quarter of the 20th century.  One Ziegler protege, Edmond James Fitzgerald (1912-1989), painted the first historically pertinent image in this article depicting Ziegler and Grace painting together ‘en plein aire’ in the Washington State’s Skykomish River Valley in 1941. Though Ziegler was the most well-known and prodigious of all early 20th C instructors of art in the Puget Sound region of the Pacific Northwest, his art focused on depicting the Alaskan people and their daily life. The influence of Ziegler’s native figural work from the ‘Last American Frontier’ is very evident in Grace’s pictures of the native peoples of the American Southwest in their natural setting.  Included throughout this introduction are exceptional examples of Ziegler’s native figure painting artistry, to be compared with Grace’s mastery of the native American figural and animal paintings in this exhibit.

Nationally, Grace has exhibited with the American Watercolor Society and the American Artists Professional League in New York;  the invitational “American Painting Today” of Grand Rapids, Michigan; “Art U.S.A. ‘58” at Madison Square Garden, New York;

“International Art of the 20th Century” exhibit at the Dalzell Hatfield Galleries, Los Angeles;  the Invitational Watercolor Exhibition, Salon of Art at the Ebell of Los Angeles; invitational Watercolor Exhibitions at the O’Brien Art Emporium, Scottsdale, Arizona.

He had more than 30 one-man-shows from Fairbanks, Alaska to Southern California to Spain.  His travels have taken him from Canada into central America to Europe and North Africa.  A highlight was a year in Spain.

In addition to the exhibitions already mentioned, he exhibited at the O’Brien Art Emporium, Camelback Galleries, & Troy’s in Scottsdale;  Dalzell Hatfield Galleries in Los Angeles;  Mazwell’s, San Francisco;  Rosequist in Tucson;  the Jones Gallery, La Jolla;  Old Town Galleries in San Diego;  Babcock’s and the Riverside Gallery in New York;  Gallery de Silva in Santa Barbara and others.  He is represented in the permanent collections of the Seattle Art Museum, the Frye Art Museum, the Portland Oregon Art Museum, Seattle University, University of Santa Clara, Loyola-Marymount in Los Angeles, the Loma Linda High School and other Los Angeles schools, Bullocks and the West Side Jewish Community Club in Los Angeles, and the Mexican Travel Bureau.

Corporate collections in which he is represented include American Airlines,  Western Airlines, Ford Motor Co., Arizona Bank, Nelson Paper Co., Craftsman Press, & Dogwood Press…..He is represented in numerous private collections from coast to coast.  Among prominent collectors are Senator Barry Goldwater, Karl Malden and Walter Bimson.

He has had feature articles in the American Artist Magazine and Western’s World.  An article on his watercolors appeared in the Christian Science Monitor.  One of his watercolors was reproduced in “Acrylic Watercolor Painting” by Bernon Blake and his watercolor “Oct. Evening” was reproduced in the 1980 American Artists’ Professional Diary.

Prizes have been awarded to him by such distinguished American painters as Ogden Pleissner, Adolph Dehn, Chen Chi, Henry Gasser, Karl Grupper, John Pellew and Frederick Whitaker,  In 1983 Wilson Hurley awarded him the Juror’s award for “Las Majas” at Oklahoma Art Center, OK. City, OK.  Among his many awards have been 1st money prize from the American Professional Artists League, N.Y.C.; Popular prizes at the Northwest Annuals, Seattle Art Museum in 1944 and 1945;  second prize West Coast Oil Exhibition, 1959; non purchase prize West Coast Oil Exhibition, 1962.  In 1958 he was awarded a Huntington Hartford Fellowship.

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