Elling William "Bill" Gollings1878 - 1932
Born: 1878, Pierce City, Idaho
Died: 1932, Sheridan, Wyoming
Elling William Gollings, known to friends simply as "Bill," moved around the United States during his childhood, living in such diverse states as Idaho, Michigan, New York, and Illinois. However, it was his earliest days spent on a ranch in Idaho that left the strongest impression, and after completing high school in Chicago, Gollings traveled west to become a cowboy in what he referred to as the "vanishing West." He worked in Nebraska, South Dakota, and Montana herding sheep, working with cattle, and performing odd jobs, but soon discovered that he could not deny his love for art and his need to portray a way of life that was quickly disappearing. At twenty-five, Gollings began painting, and found the endeavor to be profitable, selling several of his works. Following this amateur success, he received a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago where he studied for two terms.
While attending art school in Chicago, Gollings realized that the West was his true home, and he returned to set up a studio and live in Sheridan, Wyoming. He met and studied with several notable contemporary artists focused on Western and wildlife subjects after this time, including: Edward Borein, W.H.D. Koerner, Joseph Sharp, and Charles Russell. Sharp and Russell had the greatest influence on Gollings' work, and Hans Kleiber, who was based in Dayton, Wyoming, taught him the art of etching. Gollings also idolized Frederic Remington, whose work was earlier featured in Harper's Weekly, and he was determined to carry on Remington's legacy.
Signing his work with simply his surname followed by a unique pony tack insignia, Gollings always focused on Western genre and wildlife subjects in his artwork. While his paintings were popular, his etchings reached a wider audience, and appeared on Christmas cards. Gollings passed away at age 54 in 1932, but his work can be found today in significant American institutions such as the Gilcrease Museum in Oklahoma, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, and the National Museum of Wildlife Art.