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 Ted Long  (1932 - 2007)

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Lived/Active: Nebraska/Montana      Known for: western genre and figure, sculpture and drawings

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Ted Long
An example of work by Ted Long
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
North Platte sculptor dies

By SHARRON HOLLEN, The North Platte Telegraph

Ted Long, North Platte artist and sculptor, created the larger than life bronze sculpture, “Defenders of Liberty,” that is at the entrance to the 20th Century Veterans Memorial. Long died Tuesday at his home.  Ted Long, North Platte artist and sculptor, died Tuesday at his ranch home.

Nationally recognized as one of the foremost western artists in the country, Long was best known at home in North Platte for the sculptures he created over the past few years for the 20th Century Veterans Memorial.

Long had often mused that an artist is never as quickly recognized in his hometown as he is across the nation and around the world.

Yet the sculptures he created for the Veterans Memorial were, he said, the ones that evoked the most emotion within him and elicited the greatest feeling from him.

“We get to know each other very personally,” he had said of the figures as he worked in his ranch home studio to bring each of them to their life-like and larger-than-life status.

Long said that Defenders of Liberty, the sculpture that stands at the entrance to the Veterans Memorial, had been a sculpture he carried “in his head” for decades. He had often wondered when it would cease to be an image in his mind and become a reality in bronze.

It became reality when he was commissioned to do the memorial entrance piece in 2003. The three battle-weary soldiers are from the Korean War period, the same war in which Long, an Army veteran, had fought.

Long’s work that is currently in place at the 20th Century Veterans memorial, in addition to the Defenders of Liberty, are those of a Word War II pilot and a Vietnam era infantryman.  Two larger than life eagles in flight are atop the memorial’s arched entrance along with a dove bearing an olive branch.

Even as Long’s cancer, that was diagnosed only a few months ago, progressed, Long remained at his work as an artist.  His primary focus had been on sculptures for the Veterans Memorial.

Within days after undergoing surgery for the sarcoma in his leg, and as he underwent chemotherapy, Long returned to his studio to complete the sculpture that honors those who served the military in medical capacities.  The piece, of a female figure rendering medical aid in combat, is done and has been cast in larger- than-life size bronze.

The figure of a United States Marine, standing at parade rest, has been cast in its one-eighth-size bronze.  The armature for the larger-then-life figure of the Marine is done.

Long helped found the Nebraskaland Days Governor’s Western and Wildlife Art Show.  During the first years of the show, Long persuaded his professional artist friends from across the country to come to North Platte and show their work in a million-dollar exhibit.  It was Long’s urging and support that brought many of the artists who currently exhibit their work during Nebraskaland Days to the show.

Long’s sculpture of Ponca Chief Standing Bear is in the rotunda of the Nebraska capitol building.  Long became the first Nebraska artist to have a piece in the rotunda and Standing Bear became the first American Indian to be inducted into the state’s Hall of Fame.

Ted Long’s art brought him national acclaim and his work is in corporate and private collections, galleries and museums across the nation.

But as much as being an artist had brought Long fame and accolades, he remained ever at-heart a rancher and a steward of the land.

Long lived and worked the ranch northwest of North Platte where he was born and where he and his wife, Margaret, raised their four children: Michaelene, Tom, Patrick and Cathy.

When President Ronald Reagan visited the Long ranch in 1987, and when he shook hands with Long and Long’s father, Charles, Reagan said he was pleased to shake hands with “real working cowboys.”

Long believed that his connection to the land, his respect for its seasons and the recognition of both its beauty and its demands, inspired his work. That bond with the land, he felt, gave his paintings their life and their vitality.

An artist does not live forever.  Ted Long died Tuesday, March 6, 2007, at the age of 75.

An artist’s work endures beyond him and for lifetimes yet to come. Ted Long’s work does and will continue to do that.

Biography from Museum of Nebraska Art:
Ted Long was born on February 5, 1932 in North Platte, Nebraska. He attended North Platte High School and received numerous art internships, but has had no formal art training. Most of his work covers 1800 Western U.S. culture; his paintings and sculptures of the American West are extremely detailed and
heavily researched. Long still resides in North Platte in a historic,
century old log cabin but his work is known in New Mexico, Germany, Arizona, Wyoming, and Minnesota.

Some collectors of his work include John Wayne, George Montgomery, Henry Fonda, Ken Curtis, Amanda Blake, and Ben Johnson.

In the heart of America lives Ted Long. Ted is dedicated entirely to the fascinating legacy of the old west, so much that his North Platte, Nebraska, studio is situated in a century-old log cabin on a ranch his great-grandfather homestead in the 1800's.
Within sight of his home is the historic plains where the Sioux, Cheynne and Pawnee Indian tribes followed great herds of buffalo, and where cattle stampedes, battles between calvary and Indians, and the continuous migration of settlers west was commonplace. Inspired by the rustic and beautiful surroundings of his homeland, Long's works have an exciting touch of stark
realism that puts his artistry in a class by itself.

Western hospitality was the order of the day when President Ronald Reagan had lunch at the Long Ranch in 1987. Long presented the President with "The Last Farewell", a bronze of Buffalo Bill Cody.

In 1978 Long was commissioned by the Nebraska State Historical Society to do a life-sized bronze bust of Ponca Chief Standing Bear. In 1979, he received the Old West Trails Foundation Art Award. In June of 1991, Long's bronze, "When Nature Kept the Balance", was placed in the permanent collection of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming.

Ted works in oil and sculpture. His love and involvement with the outdoors is felt in each of his paintings and bronzes. He has immersed himself in the stories of the west, from Buffalo Bill Cody to Chief Standing Bear. And he, like the chroniclers of those early days, has quite a story to tell.

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