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 Gary Carter  (1939 - )

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Lived/Active: Montana/Arizona/Kansas      Known for: western frontier genre and landscape painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Hutchinson, Kansas, Gary Carter is a realist painter and sculptor of the contemporary and historic American West including cowboy's, mountain men, Indians and the landscape where they live or lived.

Many of his childhood trips were with his father backpacking in the Sierra Mountains of California.  He served in the Army, and then earned a BFA degree with honors from the Art Center College of Design* in Los Angeles.  He had moved to California with his family when his father took a job with Walt Disney productions.

From 1971-1972, he was the in-house illustrator for a California design studio, but a sell-out show in 1973 of his own art persuaded him to become a full-time painter.  In 1978, he won Best of Show at a Montana Historical Society exhibition.

He paints the landscape and wild animals of a remote area of Montana where he lives with his wife, Marlys, near the West Entrance of Yellowstone Park.  His former bunkhouse studio, where he acquired much insight into the life of the cowboy, is several miles from his home at Sun Ranch.

In 1982, Gary Carter was elected to membership of the Cowboy Artists of America*, and in 1986, served as President.   In CAA annual exhibitions, he received a Gold award for Drawing and Other Media in 1990 and 1997.

In 1991, he was adopted by the Crow Tribe and the Real Bird Family, and, made a member of the Big Lodge Clan, given an Indian name of "Eagle Man."  This adoption occurred at a Pow-Wow on the Crow reservation at Medicine Tail Coulee near Hardin, Montana, at a redesignation of the Little Horn Battlefield.

"Gary Carter", Cowboy Artists of America 2009, 44th Annual Exhibition, Phoenix Art Museum
Artist Files of the Phoenix Art Museum Library

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Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, I:
A realist oil painter and sculptor of historical Northwestern scenes, Carter was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, in 1939 and is currently living in West Yellowstone, Montana.

“My family started migrating during the Cherokee Strip land rush and settled in with the Kiowa. My folks started their migrating not too long after I made my debut. Seems like I’ve been rambling ever since. I have spent many of the happiest hours of my life packing with my father in search of another Kansan. The dreams and memories of their West have filled my mind with paintings. . . . Started packing when I was five years old. I loved school because if I did well, I had three months on the east slops of the Sierras. That was before the Sierra Club had to protect the environment.”

After unloading grocery trucks and serving in the Army, Carter went to the Art Center College in Los Angeles where his realism and Western subject matter were accepted. He then had one year as an illustrator before a one-person show of his Western paintings sold out in Tucson, Arizona.  He moved to Tucson and turned to art full-time when he was 33.

The historical subjects that he paints come from his reading and the southwestern Montana valley where he now lives. He composes the paintings on the basis that “if this had happened, it should have been this way.” He works every weekday, “from the time he gets up until he gets tired,” and likes to paint outdoors where the results are “loose and fresh.” In 1978, Carter won Best of Show at the Montana Historical Society, and the following year he was a founding member of the Northwest Rendezvous Group.

Contemporary Western Artists, by Peggy and Harold Samuels 1982, Judd’s Inc., Washington, D.C.

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