Cowboy Up with Louis L’Amour Illustrator at WAA Art Show

Share Article

For the first time in three years, original masterpieces from the private collection of the late Kenneth M. Freeman will be offered for sale at the 7th Annual Western Artists of America Show and Sale at the Pearce Museum in Corsicana, Texas – January 2011. Freeman, known as the Rembrandt of the Rodeo, was the illustrator for Louis L’Amour and other authors. Works of Kenneth M. Freeman are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Museum, Library of Congress, American Art Academy, and Booth Museum as well as distinguished private collections

Movin' the Herd - Oil on Canvas - by Kenneth M. Freeman

Ken painted each piece three times. First Ken sketched on the canvas or board with pencil and then did a full value, burnt umber painting where he worked out all the values. When the burnt umber was dry, he laid down the color

Western Artists of America announce that original works by Kenneth M. Freeman, the 2010 winner of the WAA Lifetime Achievement Award now called The Freeman Award, will be offered for sale for the first time in three years. The masterpieces are from the private Legacy collection and represent some of Freeman’s finest artwork. Freeman’s work has toured the country in two traveling museum exhibitions plus additional selections in other museum shows. The big awards received by the curator in 2010 for Kenneth M. Freeman ( chronicle the importance of this Scottsdale, AZ-based artist.

For artist Kenneth M. Freeman, the cowboy hat and boots was not a gimmick or shtick. Neither was his Arizona attitude. Ken Freeman may have grown up in a traditional Jewish home in Chicago, Illinois but make no mistake … he was a cowboy.

“Ken painted each piece three times. First Ken sketched on the canvas or board with pencil and then did a full value, burnt umber painting where he worked out all the values. When the burnt umber was dry, he laid down the color,” said Bonnie Adams, the curator of The Kenneth M. Freeman Legacy. “This was the style of the old masters and members of the press dubbed Ken Freeman The Rembrandt of the Rodeo.”

Prices for the most desirable works by contemporary artists are set to surge as much as 30% as collectors spend again, dealers and advisers predicted in a Bloomberg News 2010 survey.

“Western Art continues to be a very popular investment,” said Ed Holmes, president of Western Artists of America. “Many of our WAA artists have long resumes and price points that are attractive. Ken Freeman’s art is highly collectible by museums and private collectors as are many of our other featured artists.”

The current economy did not dampen the enthusiasm as collectors bid nearly $9M on classic and contemporary Western, wildlife, and sporting art at the 2010 Coeur d’Alene Art Auction in Reno, NV which set several world auction records. The annual Quest for the West Art Show and Sale in August 2010 at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis generated over $1M in sales.

“Ken’s old masters’ technique was very time consuming but the outcome is extraordinary. It is the only way to achieve the depth of colors and warm layers of content that will pass the test of time. This painting technique will last for hundreds of years,” said Edward Holmes, president of Western Artists of America whose organization presented Freeman with a Lifetime Achievement Award, hereafter named the Freeman Lifetime Achievement Award.

If rugged western images are exciting, then this is just the spot on January 28/29, 2011 in Corsicana, Texas (just south of Dallas/Fort Worth) at the Pearce Museum.

Corsicana’s motto is where “Country Meets Culture” and, simply stated, that means people will find everything here from armadillos to antiques, from rodeo to rare civil war documents, and from fruitcakes to fine western art.

“We are delighted to host the 7th annual Western Artists of America (WAA) Show & Sale here at the Pearce Museum, on the campus of Navarro College. It is a wonderful opportunity, not only for the museum, but also for the community,” said Holly Beasley, curator of the Pearce Museum. “While the museum is just south of Dallas/Fort Worth, an event of this caliber will surely put Corsicana on the cultural map and bring a higher level of prestige to the Pearce Museum.”

About Kenneth M. Freeman
The masterpieces of Kenneth M. Freeman are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Museum ( , the Library of Congress ( , American Art Academy ( , and Booth Museum ( as well as distinguished private collections worldwide.

Recent Kenneth M. Freeman Awards of Excellence:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award from Western Artists of America (January 2010)
  • Western Heritage Award from Parada del Sol Rodeo (March 2010)
  • Cowboy Spirit Award from the National Festival of the West (March 2010)
  • Special Award from the World’s Oldest Rodeo – Prescott, AZ (July 2010)
  • Arizona Art Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award – Scottsdale, AZ (December 2010)

About the Western Artists of American Annual Show & Sale
The WAA Show & Sale has two days of events that include a Friday (Jan. 28) lecture with master painter Jay Hester on oil painting and also a lecture with master sculptor Keith McMasters on bronze sculpture. Friday night is the exciting Art Auction from 6 – 8 PM. On Saturday (Jan. 29) the WAA offers a great autograph party to meet the artists followed by an Artists’ Quick Draw Competition where WAA artists mentor college art students with all proceeds going to the Pearce Museum. The WAA event wraps up on Saturday night with the gala Western Artists of America Awards Dinner hosted by Bob Boze Bell of True West Magazine.

“Several members of WAA have artwork within the Pearce Museum permanent collection. This event will give us the chance to meet other western artists through which we can expand our collection,” added Beasley.

About Western Artists of America
Western Artists of America is an organization formed in 2000 for the purpose of promoting the talents of professional fine artists specializing in the genre of cowboy, Native American, pioneer, cattle and horse subjects with backgrounds appropriate to the subject matter. Formed to showcase the talents of the many qualified fine western artists of today irrespective of gender, the more seasoned members seek out up and coming talent who exhibit a high interest in the western genre for mentoring. These artists’ works are showcased in an annual event sponsored by a national art museum. The Pearce Museum on the Navarro College campus in Corsicana, Texas will host the 2011 show and sale for the WAA. Website:

About The Pearce Museum at Navarro College
Our mission is to preserve, collect, and interpret the history of the American Civil War and the art of the American West.

The Pearce Museum at Navarro College is divided into two distinct exhibit areas. The Civil War Gallery is an interactive experience designed to give the visitor a humanistic overview of the Civil War, including issues, causes, battles, leaders, plight of the common soldier, the home front, and the aftermath. There are currently more than 15,000 items in the Civil War collection, while less than five percent are on display at any one time. The Western Art Gallery features two- and three-dimensional works of art depicting many aspects of the historical and contemporary Western experience including cowboys, Indians, settlers, and pioneers. There are 228 works in the Western Art collection with not quite fifty percent of those pieces on exhibit at any one time. The Pearce Museum - Navarro College - 3100 W. Collin Street - Corsicana, TX 75110 - 903-875-7642 Website:

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Dianemarie (DM) Collins
DM Productions LLC
623-825-9122 Ext. 2
Email >

Douglas Collins
DM Productions LLC
623-825-9122 Ext. 1
Email >
Visit website