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 Richard Vernon Greeves  (1935 - )

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Lived/Active: Wyoming/Missouri      Known for: Indian figure sculpture

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Ad Code: 3
Richard Vernon Greeves
from Auction House Records.
Wyoming Antelope
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A sculptor of monumental bronze Indian figures, Richard Greeves was born and grew up in an Italian neighborhood in St. Louis, where he lived in his words, a "Huck Finn childhood." Many of his neighbors were handy with tools, and they influenced his love of building and creating.

At age 15, he met an Indian girl whom he visited on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, and he later moved there and purchased the local trading post which became his home and studio.  With one third of an acre enclosed and 26-foot high ceilings, he has plenty of room to work.

Greeves is winner of the James Earle Fraser Award for Outstanding Artistic Merit at the National Cowboy & Western Herritage Museum in 2000, and his monuments to Chief Washakie and Crazy Horse reside in the gardens at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.

For the courtyard of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, he sculpted a monument of Indian figures 1 and 1/2 times life-size.

Southwest Art magazine, July 2002
Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale, 2003

Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, II:
A traditional sculptor of bronze Indians, Richard Greeves was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1925 and has been living in Fort Washakie, Wyoming on the Wind River Indian Reservation since 1951.

“I talked to a young commercial artist who had a painting of an old saddle, a .22 rifle, and a bunch of .44-40 caliber bullets. He’d photographed the ‘still lifes,’ projected it on the canvas and painted it, and then sold it for one hell of a price because it was Western art. Thank God you can’t render sculpture photographically.”The son of an Italian tile layer, Greeves left home at 15.

“I guess you might say that the Indian is my real love,” he observes. “I made them my life’s work, and I was doing it long before it became popular. A lot of artists think you can know the Indian by coming out here on weekends, but you can’t. You’ve got to love and hate with them. There’s magic for me here. I just feel it, the same feelings I had when I first came here as a kid. Right now, I’m working on a whole series of bronzes to try and capture this mysterious beyond of the Indian.”“You’ve got to get the inside right before you can get the outside right, and you’ve got to get the outside right before you can even begin to create a feeling of mood. If your work show pain, you should be able to tear a clay finger off and throw it on the table, and by God, you should be able to look at that finger and see pain.”

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

Biography from Thomas Nygard Gallery:
Richard Greeves often says his destiny as an artist was shaped by a trip he took when he was fifteen years old. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, he traveled to Fort Washakie to the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. It was a brief respite from school, but the journey -- and his time spent with an Indian family -- left an indelible impression on Greeves.

He returned to his school to finish school, but he knew the Wind River Reservation had stolen his heart. Several years later, he returned there, and for more than three decades has made his home among the North American Plains Indians on the reservation. In that time he has forged out of the whole cloth of Native America an unique lifestyle centered around his artistic capabilities. "There is a magic, a mysticism for me here that I really can't explain. I just feel it," Greeves said.

Deriving a strong background of artistic craftsmanship from his Italian heritage, he portrays through sculpture the character and spiritual essence of the people and animals of his chosen homeland.

Greeves says his mission in any sculpture is to tell a story, to communicate what he holds important. He says, "In my work, I'm just trying in my meager way to bridge this civilization with ones that come after us."

Self taught as an artist, he first painted historic documentary-style scenes of Indian life. Then he turned to sculpture. Although his favorite subject is the Indian, he also depicts the trapper, trader, and cowboy of bygone eras.

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