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 Bill Chappell  (1919 - 2010)

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Lived/Active: Colorado/Texas      Known for: cowboy genre and animal painting and sculpture

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Bill Chappell
from Auction House Records.
Lesson for a Bronc
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Bill Chappell, Western Artist and Sculptor (7/16/1919 - 9/22/2010)

A cowboy is a multi-talented person.  An artist, too, is versatile.  Combine the two in the personage of Bill Chappell, and the result is authentic Western scenes captured on canvas and in bronze.

Born in 1919, Chappell grew up as a west Texas ranch hand and experienced all the hardships and joys known by cowboys of a passing era.  His early range life and keen-eyed observation shaped his thinking and his art.  Before the age of 10 he was making clay sculptures, paintings, and wood and leather carvings.  His leather work expanded into saddlery, and he began making silver buckles and accessories.

His wife, Fay, was always a constant inspiration to his work.  After their marriage, in 1939, Bill served in the Navy, and was put in charge of occupational therapy using leather crafts.  After the war he returned to Seymour, Texas, where he owned and operated a saddle and boot shop until 1953.  It was during this time one of his most outstanding works was done, a life-size leather carving of Will Rogers, which was shown in the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City for several years.  His leather carving and artistic skills were given special recognition when he was commissioned to make the first saddle for the World Champion Rodeo Cowgirl in 1951.

Armed with only a 6th grade education, Bill continually read about and tried new things. He became an avid oil painter after moving to Colorado in 1953. In 1965, he sold his saddle shop to began painting and doing bronzes full time. Both mediums found ready acceptance from collectors throughout the nation.

He and Fay split their time between Colorado and Texas as he continued his work in art until his passing, September 22nd, 2010 at the age of 91.

Magazine covers that featured his work:
    •    Western Horseman
    •    Paint Horse Journal
    •    Craftsman Magazine

Feature articles in:
    •    Wild West Magazine
    •    Cowboy Magazine
    •    Western Horseman
    •    Southwest Art
    •    Art West
    •    Numerous newspapers

Major resource book listings:
    •    Buffalo Soldiers of the West, Carroll
    •    Bronzes of the American West,
Broder
    •    Contemporary Western Art,
Samuels
    •    Cowboy in Art,
Ainsworth
    •    Encyclopedia of Contemporary Western Artists
    •    Personalities of America
    •    The Story of Leanin' Tree: Art and Enterprise in the American West,
Ed Trumble
    •    Who's Who in Western Art


Other accomplishments:
    •    A life-size leather carving of Will Rogers, which was shown in the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City for several years.
    •    Ten nationally-distributed Christmas/note cards by the Leanin' Tree Card Company of Boulder, Colorado.
    •    Commissioned by Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas to produce the "Hardin-Simmons Cowboy" in bronze and painted the same in a rodeo setting.
    •    Featured artist at the International Art Show at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas
    •    Beginning in 1980, for 19 years Bill donated a special painting to The South Texas Children's Home is Beeville, Texas, for their Christmas card.
    •    
Major art collections in which Bill Chappell's work appears:
    •    Bob Rockwell, Corning, New York
    •    Cid Richardson Foundation, Fort Worth, Texas
    •    Maybe Foundation, Midland, Texas
    •    Cullen Foundation
    •    Houston Endowment
    •    Rockwell Foundation of Houston
    •    Parker Collection of Tulsa (Oklahoma)
    •    The King Collection
    •    Fine Arts Center of Pueblo, Colorado
    •    Ben E. Keath, Dallas, Texas
    •    Stanford Museum, Texas
    •    Barnard's Mill (Fielder Foundation)
    •    Leanin' Tree Museum
    •    Buckaroo Hall of Fame Museum, Winnemucca, Nevada

Source:
Website of the Artist with permission from the family

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Source: Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph Newspaper Article 1/17/70

(Bill) Chappell was born in Van Zant County, Texas in 1919. His early years were spent on a cattle ranch in Texas. The scenes he now puts on canvas are from those early ranch years.

He married Fay Martin and lived in Hamilton County, Texas. He spent some time in the U. S. Navy. While there he worked as an occupational therapist teaching leather craft. When he left the Navy he went to Seymour and opened a Saddle and Boot Shop. His boots became famous and soon he was making boots for people in all parts of Texas.

The Chappells left Texas for Colorado in 1953. They now live on a ranch near Alamosa with their three children. He raises Paint, Appaloosa and Quarter horses on his ranch.

Chappell took up serious painting 13 years ago (1957). His bronze sculptures depict ranch life with authenticity based upon experience and observation. He also works in leather and his life-sized carved statue in leather of Will Rogers is in the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. His sculpture has received such wide acceptance that each piece is reserved by number.

In the book "Cowboy in America" by Ed Hainsworth, Mr. Chappell has been recognized. He has work on exhibit and in permanent collections in Oklahoma City, OK, Austin, TX, Scottsdale, AZ, Santa Fe and Taos, NM and in Denver, CO.

Submitted by:
Katherine Tozier

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