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Colorado & Regional Art

Realism

The first non-native artists to visit Colorado came with government expeditions. Charged with recording the new landscapes, these artists documented what they saw in the realist style then popular in the cultural capitals of the eastern United States. They helped to promote the beauty and promise of the West by sketching the fauna and flora of the region and later turning their drawings into dramatic paintings with views of the Rocky Mountains. It was the 1858 Pikes Peak Gold Rush and discovery of gold along Cherry Creek which first brought many new people to Colorado, including artists who settled in the state. The realist works they created form the core of Western American Art and are the foundation of Kirkland Museum’s timeline of the art history of Colorado and our region.