Ken Carlson (born 1937) Prairie Showdown 42 x 84in (Painted in 1999.)

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Lot 44
Ken Carlson
(born 1937)
Prairie Showdown 42 x 84in

Sold for US$ 112,500 inc. premium
Ken Carlson (born 1937)
Prairie Showdown
signed 'Carlson' (lower right)
oil on Masonite
42 x 84in
Painted in 1999.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    The artist.
    Commissioned by the late owner from the above, 1999.

    Literature
    S.H. McGarry, Honoring The Western Tradition: The L.D. "Brink" Brinkman Collection, Kerrville, Texas, 2003, p. 243, illustrated.

    Starting at an early age, painting wildlife has always been in Ken Carlson's bones. He once said "I can't remember a time when I didn't dream of being an artist. That's all I ever wanted to be. Birds and animals were all I ever wanted to paint." Carlson began his adult art career as an illustrator. Weekends and days off were spent painting, studying, sketching and photographing wildlife subjects throughout the West. Gradually he built up a reputation in the wildlife art community by exhibiting works for several conservation related groups such as Ducks Unlimited. By 1969, Carlson decided to devote his time fully to becoming a wildlife painter. Since then he has developed into one of the preeminent wildlife painters in the Western art world. Along the way he has received numerous exhibitions and awards. He is featured in dozens of wildlife books and periodicals and his paintings are in numerous museum collections such as the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming.

    Carlson's approach to painting wildlife is all about first-hand observation. Years of close observation led him to believe that the only way to capture the true essence of his subject is to paint what's right before him, in the outdoors and on the spot.

    Carlson was a close friend and neighbor of L.D. Brinkman's and through the years Brink commissioned him to paint several works depicting majestic American wildlife. For this particular commission, Brink wanted Carlson to paint a true masterpiece in size and subject. As the artist relayed in a recent interview, he asked Brink how large he wanted this work; 25 x 30 inches? Brink replied - larger! Well, then how about 30 x 40 inches? Again the reply was – larger! Well how about 40 x 60 inches? No, larger! He wanted a work which captured both the scale and dramatic tension of the scene. That painting is Prairie Showdown. At 42 x 84 inches, it is one of the largest works that Carlson has produced. Displayed prominently in Brink's office, Prairie Showdown exemplifies why Carlson is one of America's premier wildlife painters.

    The tension between the buffalo and the wolves is palpable. The dilemma for the buffalo is apparent, as the wolves circle them. The pursuers need to catch some sort of prey. The question is just who and how. Brink was particularly fond of buffalo, and Carlson's depiction of them is stunningly accurate. The landscape is not glorified. The colors reflect the danger in the air. There is no harmony in this moment. Ken Carlson, with his years of first-hand experience and observation with these animals knows all too well the realities of life on the Western prairie.
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