By Bryan Corbin, Storyteller magazine editor
Dean Mitchell, Trail Town Wagons, 2023, acrylic, 20 x 30 inches
Dramatic scenes of the North American West with red rock mesas, glorious sunsets, resolute characters and iconic wildlife long have inspired artists. The art of the North American West is its own exciting genre in which diverse artists paint landscapes, still-lifes and portraits, sculpt fascinating bronzes and create other works prized by collectors.
The Eiteljorg Museum in September becomes the hub of the Western American art world during the 18th annual Quest for the West® Art Show and Sale. Collectors and artists will converge on the museum Sept. 8-9 for two opportunities to purchase high-quality art while mingling with fellow fans of the genre during weekend festivities. Then Quest artworks will be on view at the Eiteljorg for another month for the public to enjoy. Last year’s Quest grossed more than $1.1 million in art sales.
This year also will mark the first Quest for the West® sale weekend since the retirement of longtime Eiteljorg President and CEO John Vanausdall, who had emceed the festivities since the inception of Quest in 2006. At the 2023 event, guests can meet new President and CEO Kathryn Haigh.
“Quest for the West® builds interest in and support for the art of the American West. The event fosters relationships between artists and collectors, and showcases a bold variety of styles among the works available,” said Johanna M. Blume, curator of Western art, history and culture at the Eiteljorg. Here is a look at this beloved Eiteljorg tradition:
Art and Artists
During Quest weekend, approximately 50 artists will show and sell newly created works. This year, Quest welcomes four new artists: Luke Anderson, Dave LaMure Jr., Rich Loffler and Ezra Tucker. Familiar artists return, such as Robert Griffing, Mark Kelso, Dean Mitchell, P.A. Nisbet, Heide Presse and Gladys Roldan-de-Moras, among others. View the list of artists and latest online gallery at quest.eiteljorg.org.
Dave LaMure, Jr., The Apparition, 2023, bronze, edition of 21, 24 x 18 x 18 inches
Main Art Sale
On Saturday, Sept. 9, pre-registered Quest attendees can participate in a fixed-price, luck-of-the-draw sale. The event is not an auction; instead, a bidder whose name is drawn first gets the right to purchase a particular piece. If the bidder passes, the next person drawn is offered the chance to buy it. This process continues until a lucky bidder accepts and becomes the happy new owner of the artwork. Three bidding periods are filled with suspense and excitement for bidders and artists alike. Quest also accepts absentee bids.
Miniature Art Sale
For new collectors looking for an affordable entry point into collecting, and for experienced collectors who have no more room for large artworks, the Eiteljorg has a solution: the miniature art sale. Many Quest artists from the main sale will create additional works at smaller sizes and more affordable price points. Those works are available Friday night, Sept. 8, in the same luck-of-the-draw sale format as the main sale.
Award-winning Quest artist Gladys Roldan-de-Moras, right, and volunteer Tracie Puckett, left, enjoyed the atmosphere at the 2022 Quest for the West® Art Show and Sale as collectors placed bids for artists’ works. Image by Brittany Erwin.
Artworks by Quest artists are eligible for awards presented in multiple categories Sept. 9. The prestigious Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award goes to a work purchased by The Western Art Society that is added to the museum’s collections.
Western movie consultant Jim Hatzell will entertain Quest guests at weekend events. On Sept. 8, Quest registrants can board a tour bus for a guided tour of the Scottish Rite Cathedral, an Indianapolis landmark known for its iconic architecture.
The Eiteljorg welcomes to Indianapolis longtime collectors and first-time guests for two convivial evenings among people who are passionate about Western art. Each night, the Eiteljorg’s exclusive caterer, Kahn’s Catering, creates a delicious dining experience, held in the museum’s newly expanded multipurpose space, the Allan Whitehill Clowes Sculpture Court.
Enjoy wearing a 10-gallon Stetson hat, bolo tie or your favorite cowboy boots? Western attire is welcome and encouraged at Quest. For details on registering and making lodging plans, visit quest.eiteljorg.org.
The sale weekend, Sept. 8-9, precedes a public exhibition, during which Quest artworks will remain on view for visitors to experience, before the paintings and sculptures are shipped to their buyers. The Quest for the West® show starts Sunday, Sept. 10 and continues through Oct. 8 in the museum’s special exhibition gallery.
Look for a copy of the beautifully illustrated 2023 Quest for the West® art catalog, available in September, at the Frank and Katrina Basile Museum Store. For more about Quest for the West®, including a complete list of artists, an early look at the art, opening weekend registration or absentee buyer information, visit quest.eiteljorg.org or contact Kay Hinds, development coordinator, at email@example.com or 317.275.1341.
Brad Teare, Majesty of Morning Light, 2023, oil on canvas, 42 x 42 inches
QUEST FOR THE WEST® ART SHOW AND SALE
Exhibition, special exhibition gallery
SEP 10-OCT 8
Western Art Society
Avis Foundation, Inc.
Editor’s note: The above article originally appeared in the June 2023 issue of Storyteller magazine.
Read an article about Quest in the August-September 2023 issue of Western Art & Architecture magazine:
Read an article about Quest in the September 2023 issue of Western Art Collector magazine: