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National Museum of Wildlife Art announces new retrospective exhibition

June 22, 2020

The National Museum of Wildlife Art is proud to announce a retrospective of the work of Tucker Smith, opening on June 16, 2020, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Featuring more than 75 original oil paintings, it is a true survey of Smith’s life’s work as a professional artist, from his early years to the present. This exhibition presents the breadth of his subject matter, including western wildlife, camp and cowboy scenes, and stunning landscapes.

Tucker Smith painting in the field

Painting mostly sights from wilderness areas of the West, Smith takes viewers into some of the most pristine areas remaining in the Lower 48. His favorite place is the Wind River Range. “Nearly five decades of painting have not diminished Tucker Smith’s enthusiasm for the subject at hand. He still looks forward to taking the field in search of poetic moments and approaches each opportunity with open eyes and an open mind,” says guest curator of Tucker Smith: A Celebration of Nature, B. Byron Price who is the Director of the Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art of the American West at the University of Oklahoma.

Tucker Smith, coined as a “Living Legend” in the Museum’s annual “Living Legends” exhibition, is exactly that. He is a largely self-taught artist, painting from his own enjoyment of, and experience in, wilderness areas. Smith is one of only five artists who have been part of the Museum’s Western Visions Show & Sale® every year since its inception in 1987.

One of Smith’s earliest collectors and founder of the Museum, William Kerr, is also an avid collector of Carl Rungius’s work. Kerr comments, “Each, in his own way, joyfully takes us into an environment we may never be fortunate enough to travel ourselves. Though separated by time and temperament, these artists, bonded by inspiration, have painted their responses to sights of the soul.”

Tucker Smith (American, b. 1940), The Refuge, 1994. Oil on canvas 36 x 120 inches. JKM Collection, National Museum of Wildlife Art. © 1994 courtesy of The Greenwich Workshop.

A prominently-displayed painting, The Refuge, measures ten by three feet. You could imagine it would take a while to perfect a painting of that size – to put it into perspective, that’s about 4,320 square inches of canvas artfully depicting the National Elk Refuge – completed in about 100 days from start to finish.
“We’re thrilled to debut this multifaceted retrospective at our Museum,” says Steve Seamons, Museum Director. “We hope visitors will enjoy the rugged scenes of Wyoming and the West, seeing sights that they likely will not experience during a short visit to Jackson, and those familiar with this region will recognize locations of paintings and the impeccable detail and accuracy of the animals.”

“I have been a supporter, advocate, but most of all beneficiary, of the National Museum of Wildlife Art from its beginnings…” Says Smith, “It has been an opportunity to enjoy and learn from some of the best wildlife art in the world. Having the retrospective here is the most important honor I can imagine.”

Tucker Smith: A Celebration of Nature will be on display at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming June 16, 2020 – August 23, 2020. After making its debut at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, the exhibition is scheduled to travel to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, the National Sporting Library and Museum, the Booth Western Art Museum, and the CM Russell Museum. Please visit for the full tour schedule and additional details.

Tucker Smith: A Celebration of Nature is generously sponsored by friends of Jean and Tucker Smith, and an award from the Wyoming Arts Council, with funding from the Wyoming State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.



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