Uncovers a remarkable artists' life and showcases the full breadth of his artistic legacy
Robert Lougheed was a quiet, confident man, dedicated to painting. Born in 1910, he grew up on a farm in Ontario, Canada, the reins of a working horse in one hand and a drawing pencil in the other. After a youthful stint as a newspaper illustrator for the Toronto Star, he studied in New York City with Dean Cornwell and Frank Vincent DuMond of the famed Art Students League. He became a major illustrator---he was the man behind Mobil Oil Company's legendary flying Pegasus and creator of numerous magazine covers familiar to a generation of readers. Yet even when fully engaged in commissioned work he never ceased to paint for himself as well, and he never drew a divide between the two. Both were about expressing the essence and particularity of life. Lougheed was a true "painter's painter."
In later years Lougheed joined the Cowboy Artists of America and helped found the National Academy of Western Art. Both honored him with multiple awards. He mentored many young artists. He painted prolifically in France and England, the Virgin Islands, Hawaii, Alaska, and the American Southwest. Wherever he went, he found horses, and he honored them through his art.
In 2005, Claggett/Rey Gallery of Vail, Colorado, set about preserving Lougheed's legacy by acquiring a substantial body of artworks and other materials from the Lougheed estate. The project included dedicating a part of the Vail gallery to a thoughtful re-creation of Lougheed's Santa Fe studio. This space provides a warm, inviting environment within which to commemorate the life and showcase the artistic accomplishments of Robert Lougheed.
The full breadth of Lougheed's artistic legacy is traced for the first time in the pages that follow. More than 400 reproductions follow his trajectory from early Canadian studies of working horses to commercial work to western scenes to timeless plein-air oils of European subjects, with much in between.
Don Hedgpeth's text makes it clear why "contemporary western art owes a major debt of gratitude to Bob Lougheed." This book takes a long stride toward honoring that debt, and toward introducing a remarkable artist to any who have as yet not had the pleasure. Don Hedgpeth is a fifth-generation native Texan born in 1942 close to the New Mexico line. He grew up in Nueces County and lives today not far from where his great-great grandfather hunted wild cattle in the southern reaches of the state. Don taught history at high schools in Montana and Texas before going to work for the Oklahoma Cattleman's Association. Early in the 1970s he worked as founding editor of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame's quarterly Persimmon Hill; as assistant director, then director, of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming; and as founding director of the Haley Memorial Library in Midland, Texas.
Don's first book, Spurs Were A-Jinglin, was published in 1975, and in 1978 he became a full-time freelance writer and western art consultant, eventually publishing fifteen books related to western art and history. His book Joe Bceler: Life of a Cowboy Artist, also published by Diamond Tail Press and Claggett/Rey Gallery and designed and edited by Carol Haralson, was named outstanding art book of 2004 by the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. His most recent publication is Remember Me to Them That Ride By, a collection of his essays and poetry.
Don is married to Loree "Sug" Westover and has two grown sons, Cody and Clint, and five grandchildren. He and Sug also have a good dog named Bob.