Cherry's said his third bronze, “Free Spirit,” depicts a wolf's head triumphantly bursting through a battered base and is intended to symbolize how untamed nature can overwhelm or vanquish nearly any man-made obstacle.
The piece, priced at $5,800, was inspired by the ferocious spring of 2011, which brought floods to the Branson-area where Cherry lives and a horrific tornado that flattened his wife's hometown of Joplin, Mo. “I had our house stuff packed up, prepared to evacuate, twice, because of floodwater,” the artist said. “When my wife visited Joplin, she couldn't find the neighborhood she grew up in. All her childhood landmarks were gone — homes, churches, schools, trees, everything.”
Cherry describes “Otter Knot,” a bronze depiction of a playful otter, priced at $5,200, as his “fun piece” in this year's show. “It's like a pretty teardrop design when you follow the line from the nose to the tail,” he said. “I had a lot of fun with this one.”
The Prix de West show opens at 9 a.m. Friday with a group of art seminars during the day and an exhibition preview and cocktail reception at 6 p.m.
Saturday's events will include morning seminars, art demonstrations and art-book signings in the afternoon and announcement of the winner of the prestigious Prix de West Purchase Award during lunch. The winning painting or sculpture will become part of the museum's permanent art collection.
The evening's action begins with the minimum-bid sale and exhibition sale preview at 5, followed by the drawing for fixed-price artwork at 6:30 and the black-tie awards banquet and live art auction at 7:30.
The Prix de West Perk at 9 a.m. Sunday will feature hot coffee and a quiet chance to view all the artwork in this year's show and perhaps find an unsold work overlooked in the opening-day hoopla.
Reservations are required to attend all Prix de West opening-weekend activities. A premium package is available for $450, and includes all the show's events, the collector's bolo and an exhibition catalog. A seminars-only package, show catalog or tickets for specific events also can be purchased.
All of the show's artwork will stay on display through Aug. 5, and any unsold works will be available for purchase until then.
For more information about show tickets or to view the show's artwork online, go to nationalcowboymuseum.org.