To view Frank C. McCarthy’s artwork is akin to be amidst all the action. The artist creates heroic images of the American West that have a legion of admirers among art lovers, critics and collectors alike. Simply stated, there are few practicing artists who can depict man and horse in action with the same degree of accuracy or drama in a uniquely Western landscape.
Frank McCarthy found early inspiration in Scribner’s classics Robin Hood and Treasure Island, and in illustrations by artist N. C. Wyeth, which helped bring those pages to life. His more formal training was accomplished at the Art Students League and the Pratt Institute, where he was able to study with anatomy teacher George Bridgeman and painter Reginald Marsh.
As a commercial artist in the New York City area, McCarthy‘s early career focused on major advertising art for the film industry, book covers and a variety of periodicals—such as Colliers, Reader’s Digest, Cosmopolitan and Outdoor Life—which brought exposure and notoriety. Despite his growing reputation in the field, McCarthy sought more creative freedom and the opportunity to focus on his favorite subjects: the characters of the American West. In 1974, the artist moved west, settled in Arizona, and began to explore and document the natural settings and historical subjects he so revered.
Frank McCarthy is a much honored member of the Cowboy Artists of America, and his works have been exhibited in such institutions as the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, the Gilcrease Institute in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Leanin’ Tree Museum in Colorado and the Frontier Army Museum at Fort Leavenworth. This renowned Western artist has also been honored with a one-man retrospective at the R.W. Norton Art Gallery in Shreveport, Louisiana and at the Museum of the Southwest in Midland, Texas.
Whether his subjects are Indians, mountain men, cavalry, or cowboys, McCarthy’s work has such intensity that each painting literally involves the viewer in the action taking place on canvas. “My paintings are the results of a lot of research and hard work,” comments the master of Western action, “but I love it.” The Art of Frank C. McCarthy was published to great acclaim in 1992, and Frank was inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame in the summer of 1997.
Source: The Art Barbarians
Artist: Frank McCarthy
Artist: Frank McCarthyDescription: Oil (1973) | Image Size: 15h” x 16”w; Framed Size: 20 ½”h X 24 ½”w
Breaking Up the Herd
Artist: Frank McCarthyDescription: Oil on linen (1994) | Image Size: 9”h x 12”w; Framed Size: 16”h x 19”w
Frank McCarthy combines two of his great artistic attributes in “Breaking Up the Herd;" a thorough knowledge of Plains Indians history and a consummate ability to paint intense action, movement, and drama. Caught at full throttle in a swirling cloud of dust, the bison plunge across the golden prairie covered with sage, grass, and rocks as the Indian brave waves a hide to cut three charging bison out of the larger herd. It is rough terrain, a true test of strength and agility for horse, rider, and bison. While the focus is in the action, the figures are shown in sharp relief while the rest of the scene is obscured by the dust engendering a sense of danger and unpredictability.
Born in New York, New York, McCarthy studied at The Art Students League of New York and at the Pratt Institute prior to working as a commercial illustrator for thirty years producing numerous cover images for books, magazines, movie posters, and advertisements. By 1971, he was able to leave illustrating behind and pursue a career as a professional fine artist. Shortly thereafter he relocated to Sedona, Arizona, and in 1975 he was invited to join the Cowboy Artists of America.