The 27 larger-than-life pieces that currently make up the “Oklahoma Centennial Land Run Monument” in Bricktown. The “Seed Sower” at the University of Oklahoma's Norman campus. “On the Chisholm Trail, Monument to the American Cowboy” at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan.
While thousands of people pass by these monumental bronzes each day in Oklahoma, few realize they are all the handiwork of just one artist — sculptor Paul Moore, of Norman.
Moore is one of the 110 artists participating in the Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition and Sale, now going on at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. The 39th annual art show runs through Sunday at the museum, 1700 NE 63.
Announcement of the Prix de West-winning artwork at noon, the evening's sale of fixed-price artworks and an awards banquet are among Saturday's activities.
The day's events will begin at 9 a.m. with a panel discussion by three Prix de West landscape artists — G. Russell Case, of Brigham City, Utah; Francois Koch, of Tucson, Ariz.; and Wayne Wolfe, of Montrose, Colo. The moderator will be Edna Mae Holden, wife of Kremlin sculptor-painter Harold Holden.
At 10 a.m., Idaho painter-sculptor George Carlson, winner of the Prix de West Award in 1975 and again last year, will discuss his 50-year career in a talk titled “Art as Experience.”
One of the day's highlights will occur during the noon luncheon with the announcement of this year's Prix de West Purchase Award. The winning artwork will become part of the museum's permanent collection.
The afternoon will feature simultaneous art demonstrations by two Prix de West artists, painter Sherrie McGraw, of Des Montes, N.M., and sculptor Sandy Scott, of Lander, Wyo.
The evening's action will begin with the minimum-bid sale and exhibition sale preview at 5 p.m., followed by the drawing for fixed-price artworks at 6:30 p.m. and the awards banquet and live art auction at 7:30 p.m.
Museum President Chuck Schroeder said this year's art event will showcase 351 works with a value of more than $5.7 million.
Last year about 1,000 art lovers attended Prix de West opening-weekend events. More than $3.3 million in art was sold in less than four hours.
Schroeder said the Prix de West has been one of the nation's must-see Western art shows for nearly 40 years because the exhibiting artists and sculptors bring a diversity of styles — from historical realism depicting the early days of the West to contemporary and impressionistic portraits, landscapes, wildlife and illustrative paintings and sculptures.
Moore, a fifth-generation Oklahoman and a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, is marking his third year as a Prix de West exhibitor.
Now in this 33rd year as a working sculptor, he stays busy with commissions, many of them larger-than-life-size bronzes.
For the Prix de West show, Moore is bringing four pieces, one of which is nearly 7 feet tall. Each was inspired by Moore's own reading, research or personal experience.
“Finger That Kills,” priced at $36,000, depicts a Blackfeet Indian warrior holding a rifle in a hand that's missing three fingers. Moore said the life-size bronze was inspired by a gruesome, true-life event that legendary Charlie Russell talked about in one of his books.
Moore's table-sized “Cowboys and Indians,” priced at $7,600, shows two Comanche Indians, who have adopted the work, wardrobe, tools and habits of cowboys in the Old West.
In “Waiting for Inspiration,” priced at $3,800, Moore shows an Indian potter sitting with his pot and paints and confronting every artist's classic dilemma of what to do next.
Moore's fourth piece, “Shalako and the Zuni Girl,” priced at $6,735, was inspired by an old kachina doll that was given to one of the sculptor's friends. The Shalako kachina depicts the Zuni god involved with home building, Moore said. “I really wanted to include the Shalako kachina in a sculpture and thought about having it held by the Zuni girl who might have owned it long ago,” the sculptor said.
The show's opening-weekend activities will conclude with the Prix de West Perk, Sunday from 9 to 10:30 a.m. and featuring a more relaxed look at the exhibition.
All of the show's artwork will remain on display through Aug. 5, and any unsold pieces will be available for purchase until then.
Reservations and tickets are required to attend all Prix de West opening-weekend activities. For tickets or more information, call 478-2250. To view the show's artworks online, go to http://nationalcowboy