The Journey of William Gollings through the World of Western Art

The Journey of William Gollings through the World of Western Art

William Gollings was an American artist who has earned a great deal of fame for his western artwork. Unlike many other artists whose western artwork was based on their observations of the lifestyle and people of America’s west, William Gollings made paintings based on his own experience as a cowboy.

Gollings was born in 1878 in Idaho, USA. His parents sent him to Michigan for the purpose of receiving his education. Following his interest in arts, William Gollings enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts, Chicago where he spent two years polishing his artistic skills. He began his career as a professional artist in the early twentieth century. The cowboy was inspired by another fellow American painter of the twentieth century, Fredrick Remington. Both artists shared the passion for painting America’s western culture. Initially, however, William Gollings used to sell his original paintings to a mid-western publishing company in order to generate finances for affording his art school education. The publishing company used his artwork in calendars and post cards and also created lithographs. Today, the old calendars, lithographs and post cards bearing Gollings’ impressive early work are extremely valuable, with art museums ready to pay a large sum to purchase them.

William Gollings gave up his life as a cowboy in 1909 when he decided to stay permanently in Wyoming. He built a studio in order to paint in a proper environment. He combined his inborn skills with his art education to create paintings of cowboys, American Indians and the western lifestyle of America. He used oil paints as well as watercolors for his paintings. Moreover, Gollings also created several sketches.

Gollings also learned from another distinguished artist, Joseph Henry Sharp, an American painter who has made priceless contributions to western art. Both the artists were on friendly terms with each other. William Gollings received valuable tips regarding the use of colors from his skillful friend. Sharp also advised William Gollings about imparting an impressionistic character to his paintings.

Gollings had the honor of meeting various acclaimed artists of his time, including Charles Marion Russell, Will James, Edward Borein and several others, all famous for their extraordinary western art. William Gollings collected tips and pieces of advice from the artists he held in high esteem. By 1912, he had become an accomplished painter himself, creating countless masterpieces.

William Gollings passed away in 1932 in Sheridan Wyoming, the same place where he began his professional career. Within fifty-four years of his life, Gollings had achieved enough to be deemed as one of the most remarkable artists of the history of America’s west. He has left behind a legacy of exceptional western artwork, most of which is now exhibited in several art organizations, including the National Museum of Wildlife Art and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Wyoming.

Among some of his most famous cowboy depictions are, “Montana Cowboy”, “The Trail Boss”, “Range Riders” and “Turkey in the Straw”. Many of his paintings also depict the Native American Indians. “The Hunter”, “The Revenge” and “When the Geese Fly North” are some of the most famous paintings of American Indians made by William Gollings.

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James Vasanth writes a blog on ScottsDale Art Auction, about William Gollings and connecting the dots between online and offline. Visit us: