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 Paul Georage Vincent Horgan  (1902 - 1995)



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Lived/Active: New Mexico      Known for: illustrator western landscape, buildings

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
La Cienaga, New Mexico
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Buffalo, New York to an affluent Catholic family that was cultured with music, painting and reading, Paul Horgan became a writer who illustrated his books with watercolor paintings that conveyed a strong sense of place, especially of his beloved American Southwest.

His Irish father, whom he adored, was in the printing business. In 1915, the family moved to Albuquerque because of his father's tuberculosis. The father died in 1921, and Horgan returned East determined to be an artist, although the decision was difficult because he had writing, singing, and acting talents as well.

The result was that he became a writer who painted. He has seventeen novels plus biographies and histories under his name, and although he never attended college he lectured at Yale, the University of Iowa and Wesleyan Universities and was awarded 20 honorary degrees.

In 1926, he returned to New Mexico and began serious writing, and earned money as librarian at the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, where he had gone to school earlier. Except for a period during World War II, when he was in Washington as Chief of the Army Information Branch, he lived in New Mexico until 1960, when he moved to Connecticut. In New Mexico, he had close friends with painters Peter Hurd and Henriette Wyeth, and over the years maintained ties to the Wyeth family in Pennsylvania as well.

Horgan's writing career began in 1931 with a book of drawings, "Men of Arms", about warriors through history. Illustrator N.C. Wyeth arranged for the publication.

Intrigued by the landscape of that area, Horgan wrote and illustrated a two volume epic titled "Great River" about the history of the Rio Grande. The book, published in 1954, was one of the high marks of his career and won the Bancroft and Pulitzer prizes. He also wrote the book, "Lamy of Santa Fe", about Archbishop Lamy, the first Bishop of Santa Fe. In 1998, his publication, "A Writer's Eye: Field Notes and Watercolors", had watercolors from many places in the Southwest including New Mexico and Texas"

In the 1960s, Horgan moved to Middletown, Connecticut, where he became Director and later Professor Emeritus of the Center for Advanced Studies.

David McCullough, Introduction, "A Writer's Eye: Field Notes and Watercolors" by Paul Horgan

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