George Phippen, a Western artist from Skull Valley, Arizona, was a sculptor and painter in the representational style of western art, figures and horses. He produced approximately three thousand works in his brief career and is best remembered for his bronze sculptures, including pieces like Cowboy in a Storm. He was also a founding member and the first President of the Cowboy Artists of America. So when the museum’s namesake died in 1966, his artwork and inspriational character encouraged his friends, family and fellow artists to work toward creating a facility in Prescott, Arizona, that would honor his memory and specifically represent artists of the American West.
George was raised on farms in Iowa and Kansas and had no formal art education. But while serving in World War II, he taught himself to paint and soon after the war, he briefly worked with artist Henry Balink in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The Phippen Family 2015In 1974, the George Phippen Memorial Foundation was formed to create a venue that supported Western Art and honored George’s talent and inspirational character. As a result, the first annual Memorial Day Western Art Show was presented in 1974, featuring some of the finest western sculptors and painters from across the nation. Then in the early 1980’s, the James Family Trust donated a parcel of land to the Foundation for the construction of the Phippen Museum and, with the financial support generated from a decade of presenting the Art Show & Sale, on October 13, 1984, the museum opened its doors to the public.
Source: Phippen Museum