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Small Works, Great Wonders is a more manageable way to buy art

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Visitors to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum often come away remembering James Earle Fraser’s The End of the Trail or Glenna Goodacre’s Ronald Reagan, After the Ride, both massive sculptures that fill the rooms of the facility. But with Small Works, Great Wonders 6-10 p.m. Friday at the museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., art buyers can buy fine art without renting a truck to take it home.

The scale of the art provides an entry for many art buyers who might be intimidated by the pricing at other sales such as the annual Prix de West, but many of the artists who participate in that renowned sale and show also exhibit at Small Works. Because the two-dimensional pieces must be 16-by-20 inches or less and sculptures and ceramics must fit into a 20-inch square box, the prices are considerably lower on average.

“That’s what makes the artwork more affordable,” said curator Susan Patterson. “The ticket price is less than our bigger art shows, and the unique feature of the show is that you get to take the artwork home that evening as opposed to purchasing it and having to leave it on exhibit for another six to eight weeks. It gets taken off the wall, wrapped up and readied to take home.”

The cocktail event will play host to over 100 participating artists and feature door prizes and live music. The art preview and reception beings at 6 p.m., and at 7 p.m., the fixed-price sculptures, paintings and ceramics by artists throughout North America will be sold by a drawing.

“We have a large number of artists from across the country and nearly 20 artists who live in Oklahoma in this year’s show,” Patterson said. “We have artists from as far away as Canada, Vermont, New Jersey, California and everywhere in between, so we really do bring artists together from around the country.”

The show was installed Nov. 5, allowing visitors to preview the works, which cover a large range of traditional and nontraditional styles and subjects, from realism to abstract expressionism. J. NiCole Hatfield’s expressionist portraits of Native Americans share space with Tulsa painter Christopher Westfall’s modern urban settings, and Western landscapes range from the realism of Denis Milhomme’s “Winter Retreat” to Robert Burt’s abstract depictions of country homes. Any unsold art will remain on display and for sale through Dec. 31.

Patterson said the range of art on display in Small Works is indicative of how Western art has opened up in recent years. Small Works reflects not just the history of the West, but the changes that have taken place since the Pony Express, wagon trains and the Oklahoma land runs.

“I think it opens the door for someone who hasn’t collected before, and this particular show carries a very modernist take on Western subject matter as well as traditional styles,” Patterson said. “It’s a combination of artists showing you something you don’t usually see in a more representational show. You’re going to see much more than cowboys in this show.”

The museum is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. Museum admission is free-$12.50.

Visit nationalcowboymuseum.org.

Print headline: Diminutive marvels, Small Works, Great Wonders offers an entry point for first-time Western art buyers.

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