Trailside Galleries-Newsletter, November 2014
Joe Beeler, b. 1931-2006, Joplin, Missouri, (United States)
A pioneer in the field of Western art, Joe Beeler combined a lifetime of experience on the range with formal art training at Tulsa University and the Art Center School of Design in California. He became one the nation’s preeminent artists who worked in the western genre.
A native of Joplin, Missouri with a hefty dose of Cherokee blood, Beeler’s keen interest in the West manifested itself through his childhood drawings, impressions he experienced while growing up in an area rich with colorful history and the enduring pioneer spirit. His professional career began in illustration at the University of Oklahoma Press. From there, he pursued a career as a full time artist. A one-man show at the Gilcrease Museum in 1960 helped pave the way towards national success and acclaim. After then he won multiple awards and exhibited in most of the nation’s top western art museums including The Wolloroc Museum, National Cowboy Hall of Fame, Montana Historical Society, Charles M. Russell Museum, the Heard, Whitney and the Institute of Texas Cultures. In 1965, he became a founding member of the Cowboy Artists of America, an organization credited with much of the popularity of western art today.
Whether sitting at his easel or in the saddle, Joe Beeler always enjoyed telling a good story and nowhere is that more apparent than through his art. A self-confessed romantic, he strived to go beyond just the technique and convey feeling and mood in both his painting and sculpture. While much of his subject matter is contemporary, he particularly enjoyed creating historical scenes. Much of the reference material came from his own personal collection of Indian artifacts, cowboy paraphernalia and an extensive library of western books.
Joe Beeler and his wife Sharon lived in Sedona, Arizona and he died on April 24, 2006 at the age of 74 while in the saddle roping cattle.