It was 1965 when artist Joe Beeler, along with fellow artists John Hampton, Charlie Dye and George Phippin, founded Cowboy Artists of America. Inspired by Western master Charles Russell and Remington, they set a high standard for the association: “to insure authentic representation of the life of the West, as it was and is….” In Recalling the group’s small beginning Beeler comments, “We had no idea back then how successful the Cowboy Artists of American would be. Today though, I think art historians would say that the impact of the association has gone far beyond the bounds of Western or Cowboy Art. It’s been a big boost for realism in all American art, no matter what the theme”.
Unlike those who received their calling late in life, Joe Beeler always knew he was an artist. “I could always draw.” He commented. “It just came naturally to me.” Beeler was strongly influenced toward Western art because of his own heritage. His father was part Cherokee, so Joe was raised with deep respect for the Indian customs. In addition, his family friends shared with him the stories of the early pioneers, the Civil War, the gold rush and more.
That deep love for the Western tradition, combined with his artistic ability, has taken Beeler to the top of his profession. As both a painter and sculptor, Beeler excelled, and this rare dual talent was widely recognized and honored. Over the years he received numerous accolades including the Western Art Associates Best of Show Award, the prestigious Keickhefer Best of Show Award and numerous CAA Gold and Silver Medals. His work is displayed in the finest Western art museums and galleries throughout the nation and his name is a household work among Western art enthusiasts.
Note: In 2015 the Cowboy Artists of America celebrated 50 years since the original organization of the group. Although the founding members have all passed on the group as a whole continues to thrive.