A Native American finds a Raggedy Ann doll on a lonely Western road. A settler is teaching his gingham dressed wife how to shoot a rifle. Three Indians warm their hands over the chimney of a snow buried cabin. These are just three of the dramatic stories that Tom Lovell told through his artwork. Lovell’s attention to detail is unmatched, and he was seldom able to complete more than a dozen paintings a year. His peers consider him one of the deans of Western art.
Lovell was born in New York City in 1909. He was the Valedictorian of his high school class; and at the graduation ceremony spoke on the “ill treatment of the American Indian by the U. S. Government.” He received a bachelor of fine arts from Syracuse University in 1931. For thirty-nine years, Lovell worked as a freelance illustrator for magazines such as Colliers, McCalls, National Geographic, Life, and the Saturday Evening Post. He was as famous for his Western art as for his stirring images of Civil War battles, which were considered so definitive that they were telecast as part of an acclaimed public television documentary and published in the accompanying best-selling book.
Lovell considered himself a “storyteller with a brush, a custodian of the past.” “I try to place myself back in time and imagine situations that would make interesting and appealing pictures. I am intent on producing paintings that relate to the human experience and our Western heritage.”
In 1974, Lovell was elected to the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame and was later named a Hall of Fame Laureate. In 1975, he and his family moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and he was elected to the Cowboy Artists of America the same year. In 1992, both the National Academy of Western Art and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame honored Lovell with a Lifetime Achievement Award and a prestigious one man retrospective show. He was the first artist to ever win the Prix de West – the National Academy of Western Art’s highest honor – twice.
Source: Cowboy Artists of America
Artist: Tom Lovell Date: 1976Description: Oil on canvas. Image Size 20”h x 36”w - Framed Size 29”h x 45”w
Traditional military training and strategy were not a match for the unconventional guerrilla tactics of the wild Apache. Battle-scarred veterans of the Apache wars, from the merciless Jose Carrasco of Sonora, to the American Generals George Crook and Nelson A. Miles came to admit reluctantly their respect for the devils of the desert. They realized that there was an intuitive quality to the Apache concept of war. Like the wolf, an Apache knew instinctively when to fight and when to flee, where to hide, and how to travel fast and far across terrain unknown to the enemy.
In this scene, Apache raiders are attempting to lure a cavalry patrol into an ambush with the help of a souvenir from an earlier victory. Swift and certain death awaits the soldiers who respond to the deceptive clarion call. Shadows deepen as the sun drops below the surrounding mesas. Life and death hang in the balance as darkness descends.
Throat Spray M1
Artist: Tom LovellDescription: Pencil Study 24” x 28”
Working side by side in dungarees, Tom Lovell and John Clymer often used each other as models. This idea came from boot camp experience at Parris Island where, with 80 men in a barracks, if anyone caught a cold, everyone shared it. Tom made it the subject of a Leatherneck cover, and John obligingly posed for this painting.
Artist: Tom Lovell
Captain Clark’s Air Gun
Artist: Tom LovellDescription: 24”h x 38”w
The Mud Owl’s Warning
Artist: Tom Lovell Date: 1975Description: Oil; Image Size: 23”h x 41”w; Framed Size: 32”h x 50”w