(1936 - 2009)
Tom Talbot was active/lived in Illinois, Nebraska. Tom Talbot is known for landscape, figure, portrait and mural painting.
click to hear
Biography from the Archives of askART
Following is the obituary of the artist, published in The Custer County Chief newspaper, Broken Bow, Nebraska
Biography from the Archives of askART
"Native son set himself apart in art world"
Thursday, 16 July 2009
By DEBORAH McCASLIN
Tom Talbot was a native son, a forever resident of Broken Bow, who just happened to live elsewhere.
He died last week, but his art, and reputation for spinning a good story will forever live on.
With his wife, Ginger, Tom traveled and painted vistas from the far reaches of the globe.
"We were somewhat like the itinerate peddlers," she
added. They called themselves the joyful gypsies. Living where they
chose, moving on when the urge was present ... across the United
States, New Mexico, California, North Carolina, North Africa, Hong
Kong, Europe, Mexico ...
But Tom's native son story starts closer in, back at
home, a place, in his heart, he always belonged, and in some respects
He took great pride in his nomination as a 'Distinguished Alumni' of Broken Bow High School.
Tom's interest in art sprouted early. He and his
sister Marilyn (Shinn) would draw on anything they could find. "You just didn't go out and buy a sketch book back then," she said.
His first work of art sold in grade school, to a
classmate for 15 cents and a moth. He claims it was the moth that
cemented the deal.
By 11 his parents knew the talent existed and he
laid his hands on his first set of oils, obtained from a mail order
house at age 12. The following year his parents enrolled him in a
summer session at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He returned for
the next four summers.
In high school he painted the floor in the gymnasium
at the high school, received a commission to paint the megaphones of
the cheerleaders and following a suggestion from his dad, painted the
murals at the Arrow Hotel. "Tom was always grateful to his parents for supporting his art interest," said Ginger. He spoke of his parents in an article called "Tapestry of Textures" published by the magazine Southwest Art. "Our family trips were educational - we were taken
to museums and important historical sites. My mother was a musician and
her family always encouraged creativity, so I knew there were other
things in life than farming or ranching." He claimed those trips planted a seed of wanderlust that followed him through life. "If gypsy caravans were still acceptable travel, I'd be in one," he said.
He attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago, graduating in 1958. He tried the commercial art world, working as a
graphic artist and even doing some editorial cartooning for the Lincoln
Journal Star, but knew that was not how he wanted to spend his
life. He returned home to sort it all out, setting up a studio in one
of his grandmother's apartments in the Arrow Hotel. That's when he realized how hard it was for
him to receive the training he ached for as a youth. He saw the need in
the Nebraska Sandhills for the availability of art education. This is
when and where his legacy of art students had its start.
Tom Cordell and Laurin McGinn were two of his young
students who went on to have fine art careers of their own. "I was 12 when I started studying with Tom," said Cordell. "Mom had seen the ad in the Chief." His students are quick to talk as much about his talent as a teacher as his talent as an artist. "He was an extremely talented, gifted teacher," said
Cordell. "He never tried to teach what art was. He taught me to
go after what I wanted to say... "He felt art should give someone pleasure. He wanted
to give the viewer new visual discoveries over and over. He used to
say, 'the eye doesn't think, it just looks.' "
Cordell went on to say that Tom never particularly
cared about what the state of art was.
"He painted with unlabored ease," he said. "He
understood color and was not afraid to use it. He loved going to
markets and painting the people. He felt artists and art are found
everywhere, and that you can't teach someone to be an artist, but you
can give them the tools to try. He felt art was user friendly." With this in mind he started the Autumn Art Workshops at Halsey in 1968.
One can now find his works throughout the
Distributed through galleries in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma,
California and New York, it was the New York gallery that took his
"Because he wanted to please, he always offered his
paintings to the people of Broken Bow," said Cordell. "He didn't paint
for the art elite. He painted because he loved to paint. He worked hard
to keep his paintings accessible and available." When asked what the art history books will have to
say 25 years from now, Cordell said he believes the books will say
"Talbot was a great regional painter who is rooted in a time and a
place as an American artist. He'll be seen as a serious American
His artwork, in addition to private collections, is
found in museums in Nebraska and across the southwest, including the
MONA (Museum of Modern Art).
The Custer County Foundation, and Cedars of Central
Nebraska, through the generosity of Tom and Ginger, were recipients of
gifts of artwork that were auctioned for their foundations.
His last one-man show was in 2006. "He knew at that time his cancer had come back,"
said Ginger. "And he never complained. He was never angry. He stayed
joyful, optimistic and entertaining. He was always, always a gentleman."
"Tom's work is a reflection of Tom as a person. You can see joy in everything he painted," said McGinn. "Every time I pick up a brush and place the color on
the canvas, there is always a part of Tom in the gesture. He was always
so full of life. He understood art and he understood the art of
living," McGinn added.
The week before he died, McGinn received a letter
from Tom, a check and a set of instructions. McGinn and Tom's other
students were to get together after the memorial service to talk about
art, and Tom wanted McGinn to make sure the drinks were on him.
A native of Broken Bow, Nebraska, Tom Talbot became a painter of landscapes and figures, and his subject matter is reflected in the places he has lived: Nebraska, New Mexico, Arizona, and South Carolina.
** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
Talbot had parents who encouraged his creativity. He studied at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (1954); the American Academy of Art in Chicago (1955-58); the Art Students League of New York City in Madison, Connectictut, with Robert Brackman (1970); and Ballas Ardes in San Miquel de Allende, Mexico (1970). Bill Mosby was an especially influential instructor who emphasized value, form and shape--more of an abstract approach that allowed latitude to be an individual.
Talbot's formal training was followed by employment as an illustrator at the Chicago firm of Reuben Donnelley Lakeside Press and then as a cartoonist. Not liking the politics of his work, he returned to Broken Bow at the urging of his father who furnished him a studio in the family-run hotel.
At that time, his painting style was fairly tight, and he did a lot of portraits on commission. He also earned money by giving art classes, finally consolidating into an annual workshop called the Autumn Art Workshop at Halsey, which he continued after he left Nebraska. In 1968, he married his wife, Ginger, and they had a two-year honeymoon throughout Mexico, Canada, and the United States, and then settled in Santa Fe where he worked primarily in watercolors. In the mid 1980s, he and Ginger, lived in Prescott, Arizona; then for a period in Taos, New Mexico; then in the late 1990s back to Prescott; and later to Aiken, South Carolina.
Focusing primarily on landscapes, Talbot has a style that is a combination of impressionism and abstraction, and his colors are vivid. Most of his scenes are composites of actual places and things imagined, places that could be almost anywhere. He said that the artist who has impressed him the most is New Mexico painter Leon Gaspard.
Talbot has conducted workshops, lectures, and demonstrations extensively in Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Florida and South Dakota, and in those same states plus Wyoming, Oklahoma, Ohio, Georgia, Japan, and Mexico has had one and two-person exhibitions and gallery representation.
His work is in private and institutional collections throughout the United States and in England, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Nigeria, Japan, Mexico, and Canada. He has had feature articles in "Southwest Art" (magazine), "Horizon" (magazine), the "Scottsdale Progress" (newspaper), 'Magazine of the Midlands' of the "Omaha World Herald" (newspaper), the "Phoenix Gazette" (magazine) " and "Art Talk" (magazine), and "Taos Magazine".
Murals by Talbot at one time were in Broken Bow, Nebraska, at the Arrow Hotel, the State Bank, and the Federal Land Bank; in Cambridge, Nebraska, at the Memorial Hospital; in North Platte, Nebraska, at the First National Bank; and in San Miquel de Allende, Mexico, at the Posada de los Monjas.
1969-Ogunquit (ME) Art Center
1972-Stuhr Museum, Grand Island, NE
1975-Dahl Fine Arts Center, Rapid City, SD
1977-1979-Tubac Art Center, Tubac, AZ
1977-Cinco de Mayo Festival,Nogales, MEX (Best of Show for painting "Two Women"
1978-Tubac Arts Festival, Tubac, AZ (Masters Meed Award for "Desert Morning"
1978-1981 Mountain Oyster Club, Tucson, AZ
1980-Gilpin County Arts Association (Winner of Harmson Award)
-Seven State Regional, Cheyenne, WY
-Tubac arts Festival, Tubac, AZ (First place, oil and acrylics)
1982-Anne Magee Gallery, Omaha, NE. Friends of Children's Hospital
1984-Marks Gallery, Crested Butte, Houston, TX
1988-Wichita Arts Association
National Bank of Commerce, Lincoln, NE (Linda McAdoo Gallery)
1984-Friends of Children's Memorial Hospital, Omaha NE
"Southwest Art" September, 1982;, October, 1984; March, 1986; May, 1986; September, 1986; February, 1987; February, 1988; July, 1988; February, 1989; January, 1990; August, 1992; October, 1993; February, 1998. "Taos Magazine" (New Mexico), August 1992 and May/June 1995; "Vail Valley" (Colorado), Summer 1985; "Scottsdale Magazine" (Arizona), Spring, 1986; Autumn, 1987; Winter, 1989. "Southwest Profile" (New Mexico); "Artists of the Rockies of the Golden West" Summer, 1981 and Fall, 1982. "Tucson Home" (Arizona), Winter/Spring 2000; "The Crested Butte Magazine" (Colorado) Summer, 1985; "Dandick's Travel Tips" (Arizona), 1979 and 1981; "Art of the West" March/April 1990, November/December 1987.
"Southwest Art", 'Tapestry of Textures,' by Susan Hallsten McGarry, October 1987.
Notes by Tom Talbot provided by Sue Willoughby, Prescott, Arizona.
Share an image of the Artist email@example.com.