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 Conrad Schwiering  (1916 - 1986)

About: Conrad Schwiering
 

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Lived/Active: Wyoming/Colorado      Known for: mountain landscape, western

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:

Schwiering lived until January 1986, and during those last years of his life he enjoyed considerable artistic success and acknowledgment of his achievements as a landscape artist.

For example, in 1981 he was recognized by the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Museum with a one man exhibition of 38 of his paintings and was awarded the Trustees Gold Medal for his “…outstanding contributions to Western art.” (from the text of the award letter, December, 1981).  This one man show which ran from December 12, 1981-January 31, 1982 was previewed in a book-length publication that was a combination biography and catalog of the 38 works displayed in the exhibition. The book, titled  Painting on the Square, was authored by then Cowboy Hall of Fame director Dean Krakel. Also, during that year, he was one of six artists chosen by PBS for their Profiles in American Art series, which resulted in a 30 minute film documentary showing his painting technique, artwork and presented, in his own words, his description of his technique.

Again, in 1985, he was honored by the Gilcrease Museum with another one man exhibition of 25 of his paintings entitled “The American Landscapes of Conrad Schwiering.”(September 11-November 17, 1985). Additionally, throughout the last years of his life, he was regularly featured in the Denver Rotary Club’s annual exhibition Artists of America, the annual exhibitions of the National Academy of Western Art and was featured in art magazines including Western Art Digest in the summer of 1985. This article entitled “Painter of the Rockies” included an interview and pictures of several paintings that would be included in the one man exhibition at the Gilcrease later that year.

Conrad Schwiering died January 26, 1986 at the age of 69 in Monterey, California while photographing and sketching on the beach. The obituary that appeared in the San Jose Mercury News stated: “Western landscape artist Conrad Schwiering has died of a heart attack while sketching and taking photographs for a painting at Point Lobos State Park…” (San Jose Mercury News, January 30, 1986).

In 1999, the Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper, Wyoming acquired the Schwiering collection of sketches and field studies and his art library “thanks to the philanthropy of William Schwiering, the family of Mary Ethel Schwiering [Conrad’s wife], and Elaine and Jack Rosenthal” (quote from the museum’s Conrad Schwiering brochure).


Additionally, his Jackson Hole studio has been recreated in the museum. The brochure further notes: “The Nicolaysen is extremely proud and grateful that it has been chosen as the permanent repository for the legacy of this fine artist.”

Compiled and written by David Moore, Montana


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Working from his home and studio in Jackson, Wyoming, Conrad Schwiering painted mountain landscapes that showed the changing seasons. He is known for his views of the Teton Mountains and said: "I plan on going out every day to sketch these mountains no matter what sort of weather is brewing. Because this is really what a mountain painter does--he catches, if he can, the essence of the moods, as they come across the mountains, hoping he can pass them on to others."

When asked how long it takes to do a picture, Schwiering replied: "Oh, I'd say about two weeks and 35 years."

He was a member of the National Academy of Western Art. His father was Dean of Education at the University of Wyoming, where Schwiering took a minor in arts. He also studied under Robert A. Grahame and Raphael Lillywhite of Denver, and then went to the Art Students League to study with Charles S. Chapmen, the painter he most admired.

After World War II, he settled in Jackson Hole and sold more than 1000 paintings.

Periodicals:
Brown, Thomas "Painter of the Rockies" Western Art Digest, Summer 1985
Krakel, Dean "National Academy of Western Art Exhibiting Artists" Persimmon Hill, March 1973
Krakel, Dean "National Academy of Western Art" Persimmon Hill, April 1973
Krakel, Dean "Painter of the Tetons" Persimmon Hill, January 1971

Sources include:
Peggy and Harold Samuels, Artists of the American West
additional information courtesy of David Moore

Biography from Tierney Fine Art:

Conrad Schwiering was born in Boulder, Colorado, on August 8, 1916, and grew up in Laramie, Wyoming. The wide open spaces, mountains and streams, and the Western way of life became part of the young boy, leaving a lasting impression. Schwiering fell in love with the Teton Range while on a trip with his father. Later in life those mountains would define his career.

After graduating from the University of Wyoming, with a degree in business and law, and a minor in art, Schwiering soon found his urge to paint the Western scene overshadowed all else. He went to New York City to paint full time and studied at the Art Students League with the nation’s most outstanding artists, one being Charles S. Chapmen, the painter he most admired. Schwiering also studied under Robert A. Grahame and Raphael Lillywhite of Denver.

When he finished serving in World War II, Schwiering returned to Wyoming and settled in Jackson Hole with his wife Mary Ethel. Soon after, he established a studio in Grand Teton National Park, overlooking the Tetons. He went outside daily to sketch and paint, no matter what the weather, in order to capture the ever changing moods of the landscape. He became best known for his dramatic Teton scenes. In an interview several days before his death he stated, “I am different in that I am part of the land. I record the things that I know as a way of breathing – a way of living.”

Schwiering reached peak stature as an artist. Well know he was the subject of television shows, two full length monographs, and countless newspaper and magazine articles. He was represented by leading galleries throughout the United States, most notably Grand Central Art Galleries of New York City. Over his lifetime he sold more than 1,000 paintings, passing along his love of the Tetons to others.

Conrad Schwiering passed away January 26, 1986 at the age of 69 while sketching and gathering material for a painting in Point Lobos State Park near Monterey, California. Today his paintings are found in numerous public and important private collections throughout the country.

Awards and Honors:
Member Society of Western Artists
Member American Institute of Fine Arts
Charter Member National Academy of Western Art
One-Man Exhibition (38 paintings), National Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, December 12, 1981 – January 31, 1982: Awarded Trustees Gold Metal for outstanding contribution to Western art.
William F. Cody Award for Art, Old West Trail Foundation, 1983
One-Man Exhibition (25 paintings), “The American Landscapes of Conrad Schwiering,” Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma, September 11 – November 17, 1985

Literature:
Schwiering and the West, Wakefield, Robert, North Plains Press, Aberdeen, South Dakota, 1973, 207 pages
Conrad Schwiering – Painting of the Square, Krakel, Dean, Powder River, Oklahoma City, 1981, 115 pages
Western Art Digest, article “Painter of the Rockies,” summer 1985

Collections:   
Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, WY
Campbell County Public Library, Gillette, WY
Community Fine Arts Center, Rock Springs, WY
Leanin’ Tree and Sculpture Garden of Western Art, Boulder, CO
Montana Historical Society, Helena, MT (collection of twelve paintings)
National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, OK
National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson Hole, WY (two paintings)
Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper, Wyoming (houses the Conrad Schwiering estate)
Sangre De Cristo Arts Center, Pueblo, CO

Written by Curtis Tierney

Sources include:
Peggy and Harold Samuels, Artists of the American West
Conrad Schwiering’s studio brochure: Schwiering Western Artist
David Moore
National Museum of Wildlife Art



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