You think you’ve seen everything, and suddenly a gem crosses your path. This gem is an oldie, but it shines. It’s history, and a wonderful window into our valley’s arts and wilderness tradition. We are a plein air paradise. A few days ago I paid a visit to Astoria Fine Art and visited the collection of plein air paintings of the Tetons currently in house. The collection is not a true show, but viewed together these works afford an excellent “view” of the many ways artists have painted this valley.
For me, the most exciting find was a scene painted by Paul Bransom (1885-1979). Bransom, notes the gallery (and the gallery credits the National Museum of Wildlife Art), “was a prominent early-American illustrator, having completed covers for the Saturday Evening Post, Ladies Home Journal, Country Gentleman and Good Housekeeping. Beginning in 1947, Bransom spent 16 summers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He met many other artists and illustrators in Jackson, and together they taught classes and started Teton Artists Associated.” Another source says Bransom’s commissions included illustrations for Kipling’s “Just So Stories” and Grahame’s “Wind in the Willows.”
Astoria’s Bart Monson was kind enough to provide an historic photograph of plein air artists painting in the valley; the photo dates circa 1947. The image, from the Archives of American Art, is assumed to be a photograph of Teton Artists Associated members painting en plein air. Phenomenal!
Astoria, says owner Greg Fulton, recently acquired four historical paintings depicting the Teton Range. Those and other contemporary works are available to see; artists include Conrad Schwiering, Scott Christensen, Carol Swinney, Jim Wilcox, romantic landscape painter Linda Tuma Robertson, and more. www.astoriafineart.com