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Earl Wesley Bascom

 (1906 - 1995)
Earl Wesley Bascom was active/lived in Utah, California / Canada.  Earl Bascom is known for western genre sculpture.

Biography  
Earl Wesley Bascom


Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Earl Wesley Bascom
Earl W. Bascom, cowboy, sculptor, rodeo pioneer and member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Artists Association led an interesting life, having been recognized prior to his death as the world's oldest living rodeo clown and bull fighter.

Known as the "Cowboy of Cowboy Artists," he was born in a sod-roofed log cabin on the 101 Ranch near Vernal, Utah on June 19, 1906.  His grandfather, frontier lawman Joel Bascom, had started the ranch after crossing the plains in the 1850's as a Mormon pioneer.  Earl's father, Deputy Sheriff John W. Bascom, chased the outlaw Butch Cassidy in the late 1880's.  Earl's grand uncle Ephraim Roberts was a pony express rider riding from Utah to Southern California and back.

Earl's art talent may have been inherited. Several of his relatives were artists of note: Ruth Bascom, one of New England's most prolific portrait artists of the early 1800's; Andrew Jackson Bascom, a renowned portrait painter and miniaturist in Boston in the mid 1800's; H.B.Bascom, a prominent St.Louis silversmith of the 1830's; Robert Ingersoll, designer and maker of some of America's finest stagecoaches and wagons of the 1800's.

What is most extraordinary is Earl Bascom's kinship to the two masters of western art, Charles M. Russell and Frederic S. Remington. Earl's father, Deputy Sheriff John W. Bascom, was a cousin to Charlie Russell's mother Mary Elizabeth Mead and also to Frederic Remington's mother Clarissa Bascom Sackrider.

Earl showed an early interest in art, drawing scenes of his young cowboy life on pieces of scrap paper and on the flyleaves of his schoolbooks.  After his family moved from Utah to Canada in a covered wagon, Earl's art talent became more recognized by his family members when he sketched a cowboy with a 10-gallon hat on the papered wall of the family's new ranch house.

As a cowboy in the 1920's, Earl took part in some of the great horse roundups on the open prairies between Purple Springs of Alberta and the Sweetgrass Hills of Montana where some 7,000 head of horses were gathered in one bunch.

The paintings by Charles M. Russell, which hung on the walls of the home of millionaire rancher Raymond Knight, helped inspire Earl with his art.  Earl worked for Ray Knight and although cowboying for a dollar a day wage made it hard to save money, Earl was able to send away for a correspondence art course.  Within these courses were drawing instructions by C.M.Russell and Frederic Remington.  These lessons by Remington and Russell were the only western art instructions Earl ever received during his life.

But punching cows from dawn to dark didn't leave much time for fine art. One evening after a long day of work on the Nilsson Ranch, Earl pondered upon his life and its direction.  He had just read a story in a western magazine about the Indian cowboy Jim Thorpe how he quit cowboying, went to school and became an Olympic Champion. Inspired by Thorpe's example, Earl quit punching cows and traded his rawhide lariat for a chance at a college baccalaureate.

In 1933 at the age of 27 and having never graduated from high school, Earl was accepted to study art at the Brigham Young University.  There he excelled.  In his freshman year he won the BYU art department's Studio Guild medal awarded to the best student artist of the year.

To pay for his college education and his art supplies, Earl rodeoed during the summer. Rodeo winnings more than paid for his entire schooling. Eventually he took every art course offered by the university and fulfilled all requirements necessary to graduate, which he did in 1940. For his mixing of college studies with the sport of rodeo, Earl was declared to be rodeo's first "collegiate cowboy."

Having graduated from college and retired from rodeo, Earl and his new bride moved to Los Angeles to pursue further art studies.  But World War II broke out and he ended up building ships for the navy at the docks of Long Beach.  Later, he worked in construction, ranching, western movies, and even worked as a high school art teacher for a time to support his family.

In 1968, at age 62, Earl started sculpting which soon became the main medium of his artistic expression.  In 1973, Earl and his youngest son, John, who had just graduated from Brigham Young University in Fine Art, set up their own bronze-casting foundry, one of the few such father-son operations in history.

During his art career, Earl received many honors and several commissions, one being "The American Longhorn, 1494-1994", which was chosen by the Texas Longhorn Quincentennial Committee to celebrate the 500th year of the longhorn cattle being in America.

Over the years, Earl's deep western heritage and his own experiences having been a bronc buster, cowpuncher, trail driver, blacksmith, freighter, stagecoach driver, miner, trapper, wolf hunter, wild horse chaser, rodeo champion, cattle rancher, dude wrangler and Hollywood movie actor influenced his art work.

Even his long career as a rodeo cowboy served as a source of artistic inspiration. Earl and his three rodeoing brothers were known as the "Bronc Bustin' Bascom Boys." Earl rodeoed from 1916 to 1940, having competed in the rodeo events of saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, bull riding, bull riding with a saddle, steer riding, steer wrestling, steer decorating, wild cow milking, wild mule riding and wild horse racing.  He also worked as a rodeo producer and promoter, rodeo announcer, rodeo pickup man, hazer and chute man, rodeo clown, rodeo bull fighter and even performed as a rodeo trick rider.

One of the top all-around rodeo cowboys of his day, Earl climbed to the top in 1933 when he set a new World Record, set two new arena records, won second in the North American Championship and won third place in the Championship of the World.

Earl's artistry even showed up in the rodeo arena.  In 1916 Earl and his brothers helped pioneer the sport of rodeo by designing and constructing rodeo's first side-delivery bronc chute.  In 1922 Earl designed and made rodeo's first hornless bronc saddle.  He designed and made rodeo's first one-hand bareback bronc riding rigging in 1924 and rodeo's first high cut rodeo chaps in 1926.  These rodeo designs are now used at professional rodeos world-wide. In 1994, Earl was commissioned to design the 1994 National Finals Rodeo commemorative belt buckle.

Earl had worked for some of the largest ranches in North America - the Knight Ranches of Alberta with almost one million acres and some 18,000 head of cattle; the Scorup Ranches of Utah with almost two million acres - as well as many historic ranches such as the White Bear and the 2 Bar of Colorado and Wyoming, the Hickman Ranch of Mississippi, the Flying U Ranch of Idaho, the 76 Ranch of Saskatchewan and a ranch once owned by C.M.Russell in the Sweetgrass Hills of Montana.

Earl was the first cowboy artist to be elected a Fellow of London's Royal Society of Arts in its entire history of almost 300 years.

Bascom died August 31, 1995, at his ranch at Victorville, and true to his cowboy life, was buried at high noon on a wind swept hill overlooking the valley.  His coffin, decked with his old bronc saddle, was carried to the Apple Valley cemetery near his ranch in a horse-drawn wagon, followed by a riderless horse in the tradition of the old West.


Submitted by John Bascom, son of the artist, October 2003

Credits:
Associated Press: Obituary
Who's Who in American Art, Who's Who in California, Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, The Royal Society of Arts, J.O. Hicken "Raymond Roundup 1902-1967"

ADDITIONAL BOOK REFERENCES

940 = Brigham Young University = Banyan = 342 = no

1963 = J.O. Hicken, editor = Raymond Roundup, 1902-1967 =
700 = no

1974 = Lybbert Family = C.F.B. Lybbert and Family History =
150 = no

1978 = Cardston Historical Society = Chief Mountain Country
= 425 = no

1981 = Stirling Sunset Society = Stirling History = 610 =
no

1983 = Lyle Lybbert = Memories I Could Do Without - And
other Short Stories = 65 = no

1985 = Kristina Fredriksson = American Rodeo - From Buffalo
Bill to Big Business = 255 = no

1987 = Billy R. Bascom and Eloise Oler = The Single Years =
174 = no

1988 = Lela Nickell Christian = Elias Willard Williams, Jr.
and Ida Jane Bascom and Their Posterity = 748 = no

1988 = Sunnyside Area Historical Society = Sunnyside Area
History, Royal View and Hyssop = 639 = no

1990 = Wes Bascom = I Remember: Early Days in Raymond = 251
= no

1990 = Stan Paregien  = Who's Who in Western Writers of
America = 276 = no

1991 = Vern Swanson = Utah Painting and Sculpture = 308 =
yes

1993 = Lawrence Turner (ed) = Settlers, Sugar and
Stampedes, Raymond Remembered = 718 = no

1994 = Paul Skousen = The Skousen Book of Mormon World
Records, and other Amazing First, Facts and Feats = 465 = no

1994 = Gail Woerner = Fearless Funnymen: The History of the
Rodeo Clown = 223 = no

1994 = Ron Carter = The Youngest Drover: A True Story about
Growing Up on a Cattle Drive = 167 = no

1994 = V. Dallas Merrell = Wild Promise, Grandfather's
Story of a Boy and a Horse = 74 = no

1995 = Who's Who Historical Society = Who's Who in
California = no

1999 = Marquis = Who Was Who in America = no

2004 = Sylvia Gann Mahoney = College Rodeo From Show to
Sport = 378 = no

2004 = Kate O'Rourke = The History of Apple Valley -
119 = no

2008 = Margaret Keenan = Frederic Remington = 256 = yes

2008 = Paul Skousen = More Amazing Mormon World Records =
200 = no


PERIODICALS REFERENCING THE ARTIST

TITLE = YEAR = MONTH = ARTICLE TITLE = AUTHOR = COLOR

1980 -14
The Pioneer = 1980 = January = New Honors For Earl W. Bascom = Editors = no

The Western Horseman = 1980 = Feb. = Brush Poppin' = Dick Spencer = yes

BYU Today = 1980 = March = Alumni Today = Editors = no

The Western Horseman = 1980 = July = Bascom and Cassidy = Editors = yes

The Lethbridge Herald = 1980 = July = Rodeo Roundup = Garry Allison = no

The Lethbridge Herald = 1980 = July = Depew Recalls Old Rodeo Days = Garry Allison = no

Daily Press = 1980 = Aug = Fine Arts = Editors = no

The Sun = 1980 = Aug = Bascom Honored = Editors = no

The Lethbridge Herald = 1980 = Aug = Former Raymond Resident Talks About Rodeo's Early Days. = Garry Allison = no

Daily Press = 1980 = Sept = Local Man Gets Rodeo Trophy 40 Years Later = Editors = no

Church News = 1980 = Sept = Dateline = Editors = no

The Pioneer = 1980 = Nov = A Delayed Award To Earl W. Bascom = Editors = no

The Wild Bunch = 1980 = Nov. = Trophy Saddle Is Awarded To Bascom 40 Years Late = Editors = no

BYU Today = 1980 = Nov = Alumni Today = Editors = no

1981 - 9
Uptown Alligator = 1981 = March = The Rodeo Returns = Editors = no

The Western Horseman = 1981 = June = Rodeo Arena = Randy Witte = yes

American Cowboy = 1981 = August = Apache Wars End = Editors - yes

Daily Press = 1981 = Aug = Fair Results = Editors = no

Horse & Rider = 1981 = Oct. = People, Places & Puns: Hysteric Handshake = Editors = yes

Horse and Horseman = 1981 = Oct = Horse Happenings = Editors = yes

The Western Horseman = 1981 = Oct. = Gallery = Chan Bergen = yes

Horseman = 1981 = Nov. = Peaceful Ending = Editors = yes

The Wild Bunch = 1981 = Nov. = Bascom and Cochise Meet At Historic Apache Pass = Editors = no

1982 - 28
The Cardston Chronicle = 1982 = Earl Bascom To Serve As Parade Marshall = Editors = no

The Cardston Chronicle = 1982 = May = Heritage Days = Editors = no

Persimmon Hill = 1982 = April = Mail Call = Editors = yes

The Lethbridge Herald = 1982 = April = Former Raymond Man Tells Story of Colorful Past = Garry Allison = no

The Cardston Chronicle = 1982 = May = Earl Bascom To Serve As Parade Marshall = Editors = no

Arcadia Tribune = 1982 = May = Horsey Set to Jump Into Celebration = Jody Jacobs = no

Daily Press = 1982 = June = Artist's Foundry Works Overtime = Damian Mann = no

Quarter Horse of the Pacific Coast = 1982 = June = All-Around High Point Cal-Bred Horse Award = Editors = yes

Arcadia Tribune = 1982 = June = People = Editors = no

California Horseman's News = 1982 = June = Limited Edition Bronze To Be Offered At Santa Anita Show = Editors = no

The Raymond Review = 1982 = June = Rodeo Celebrity Receives Award = Editors = no

Arcadia Tribune = 1982 = June = Dinner Dance To Aid Arcadia Music Club = Editors = no

Santa Anita National Horse Show Catalog = 1982 = July = Hunter Classic Perpetual Trophy = Editors = no

Los Angeles Times = 1982 = July = Horse Fanciers in Harness at Benefit = Marylouise Oates = no

Star News = 1982 = July = Black Tie Gala = Ann Sonne = no

Women's Wear Daily = 1982 = July = Dine, Place or Show = Maureen O. Sajbel = no

Arcadia Tribune = 1982 = July = Mundy Mail: Elegant Soiree = Catherine Mundy = no

Daily Press = 1982 = Aug = Bascom's Bronc Saddle on Display = Editors = no

The Quarterhorse Journal = 1982 = Sept = Grand National = Editors = yes

Persimmon Hill = 1982 = Oct = Mail Call = Editors = yes

Vernal Express = 1982 = Oct = Former Resident Receives Canadian Honors = Editors = no

The Quarter Horse of the Pacific Coast = 1982 = Oct = California Pleasure = Editors = yes

California Intermountain News = 1982 = Oct = Victorville Man Gets Rodeo Accolade = Editors = no

Victor Valley Daily Press = 1982 = Nov = High Desert Artists = Editors = no

Daily Ledger-Gazette = 1982 = Nov = Actor, Artist to Speak Here = Editors = no

Antelope Valley Press = 1982 = Nov = Rodeo Rider To Speak To Historical Society = Editors = no

The Quarter Horse Journal = 1982 = Dec = The Legend of Poco Bueno and Pine Johnson = Editors = yes

Quarter Horse of the Pacific Coast = 1982 = Dec = A Bascom Bronze Sculpture = yes

1983 - 25
The Pioneer = 1983 = Jan. = Earl W. Bascom: Receives Canadian Rodeo Honors = Editors = no

Interstake Business and Professional Association of Los Angeles = 1983 = March = Door Prizes = Editors = no

Springville Museum of Art = 1983 = March = National Salon = Editors = no

The Palm Springs Desert Sun = 1983 = March = Cowboy Artist Knows Horse's Buck Firsthand = John Hussar = no

The Desert Sun = 1983 = March = Cowboy Round-up = Editors = no

Daily Press = 1983 = April = Bascom Wins Best of Show = Editors = no

Interstake Business and Professional Association of Los Angeles = 1983 = April = Door Prizes = Editors = no

The Roundup = 1983 = May = Earl W. Bascom = Editors = no

Victor Valley Magazine = 1983 = June = Earl Bascom, Cowboy Artist = Dick Dorwald = no

The Pioneer = 1983 = June = New Honors For Earl W.Bascom = Editors = no

The Bulletin Board = 1983 = June = Some Interesting Observations = Editors = no

Wyoming State Tribune = 1983 = July = Midnight's Last Rider = C.J. Putnam = no

Daily Press = 1983 = Aug = Most Popular Art Show = Editors = no

The Western Horseman = 1983 = Aug = Brush Poppin' = Dick Spencer = yes

The Latter-day Sentinel = 1983 = Aug = Cochise = Editors = no

The Fence Post = 1983 = Sept. = Sculpture for a Famous Old Cowboy = Don McMillan = no

Daily Press = 1983 = Sept = Winning Artists Announced = Editors = no

The Latter-Day Sentinel = 1983 = Sept = "Patriarch" of the Wild West = Lisa Johnson = no

Las Vegas Sun = 1983 = Sept = NLV Bronc Rider Greenough Named to the National Cowboy Hall of Fame = Art Nadler = no

Las Vegas Sun = 1983 = Oct = Where I Stand = Mike O'Callaghan = no

The Voice of Alma = 1983 = Oct = Short Takes = Editors = no

Latter-Day Sentinel = 1983 = Oct = Cochise = Editors = no

Las Vegas Sun = 1983 = Nov = North Las Vegas Rider Greenough Named To The National Cowboy Hall of Fame = Art Nadler = no

Tides and Times = 1983 = Dec = Cochise = Editors = no

Great Falls Tribune = 1983 = Dec = State's Ridin' Greenoughs Earn Place in Rodeo Shrine = Patrick Dawson = no

1984 -28
The Nevadan = 1984 = Jan = Personalities = A.D.Hopkins = no

The Voice of Alma = 1984 = Jan = Short Takes = Rita L. Lampkin = no

The Wild Bunch = 1984 = Feb = Remembering Midnight = Earl W. Bascom = no

Springville Museum of Art = 1984 = March = National Salon Catalog = Editors = yes

Alpine Sun = 1984 = April = Champion Cowboy To Show Here, Bringing West To Life = Editors = no

The Latter-day Sentinel = 1984 = April = Art Show = Editors = no

The San Diego Seagull = 1984 = May = Earl W. Bascom, The Cowboy of Cowboy Artists = Editors = no

The Review = 1984 = June = Raymond Prepares for a Party = Carolyn Vesely = no

The Review = 1984 = July = A Famous Parade Marshall = Editors = no

The Lethbridge Herald 1984 = July = Recipe Proves Letter-perfect for Raymond Stampede Day = Dave Mabell = no

The Voice of Alma = 1984 = July = Short Takes = Rita L. Lampkin = no

Back Country Trader = 1984 = Aug = Alpine Gallery Hosts Wieghorst = Editors = no

Daily Press = 1984 = Aug = Canadian Town Honors Rodeo Pioneer Earl Bascom = Linda Telaak = no

California Intermountain News = 1984 = Aug = Rodeo Champion Honored = Editors = no

The Pioneer = 1984 = Sept. = Grand Marshall for Canadian Parade = Editors = no

The Latter-day Sentinel = 1984 = Sept = Victorville Patriarch is Honored by Canadian Town as Rodeo Pioneer = Editors = no

Alpine Sun = 1984 = Sept = Artistic Quests, Weighorst and Bascom = Editors = no

The Sunday Sun = 1984 = Oct = Earl W. Bascom = Editors = no

The Ketch Pen = 1984 = Oct = Gathering the News = Jean Curtis = no

California Intermountain News = 1984 = Oct = ALMA Awards Banquet = Editors = no

The Latter-day Sentinel = 1984 = Oct = ALMA Awards Dinner = Editors = no

The Voice of Alma = 1984 = Oct = Champion Cowboy Artist Earl W. Bascom = Editors = no

The Sun = 1984 = Oct = People and Places, Earl W. Bascom = Editors = no

ALMA Program = 1984 = Oct = Acknowledgements = Editors = no

Canadian Rodeo News = 1984 = Nov = Legends of Rodeo, He's Done It All = Editors = no

The Edmonton Journal = 1984 = Nov = Rodeo Greats Recall Sport's Pioneer Days = Marty Knack = no

BYU Today Magazine = 1984 = Dec = Profiles = Editors = no

Vernal Express = 1984 = Dec = Bascom Honored = Editors = no

1985 -37
The Voice of Alma = 1985 = Jan = World Champion Cowboy To Be Featured Speaker = Editors = no

Palm Springs Desert Sun = 1985 = Jan = Canadian Capers = Nate Israelson = no

California Intermountain News = 1985 = Jan = Western Artist Tells Stories = Editors = no

The Latter-day Sentinel = 1985 = Jan = What's Happening = Editors = no

Daily Press = 1985 = Jan = Bascom Named to Canadian Rodeo Hall of 'Fame = Editors = no

California Intermountain News = 1985 = Jan = Inside = Editors = no

The Sunday Sun = 1985 = Jan = Rodeo Cowboy Puts Memories Into Bucking Bronze Sculptures = Priscilla Nordyke = no

Inland Empire = 1985 = Jan = Rodeo Cowboy Puts Memories Into Bucking Bronze Sculptures = Priscilla Nordyke = no


Biography from Crocker Art Museum Store
Sculptor. Born in a log cabin in Utah on June 19, 1906. Raised on a ranch, Bascom began working as a cowboy when a small child. At 12 he entered his first rodeo and then rodeoed professionally for 23 seasons. (He is known in rodeo history as the designer-maker of the first hornless bronc saddle and one-handed bareback rigging.)

Inspired by his cousin Charlie Russell, he opted to become an artist. He then majored in art at Brigham Young University. After arriving in Los Angeles in 1940 to attend art school, he rode the range with Roy Rogers in television commercials.

In 1957 he bought a ranch on the Mojave River near Victorville, CA. Having cowboyed all his life, it is no wonder that the subject matter for his artworks would be horses. His bronzes earned him great acclaim before his death in Victorville on Aug. 28, 1995.

Member: Royal Society of Arts (London); High Desert Artists. lnvw; Victoryville Daily Press, 9-3-1995 (obit).

Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.


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Biography photo for Earl Wesley Bascom
Photo from the Bascom Ranch Collection




About  Earl Wesley Bascom

Born:  1906 - Vernal, Utah
Died:   1995 - Victorville, California
Known for:  western genre sculpture