The marvelous world of Western American art is one that held a specific fascination and a strong appeal for the late Gilbert Waldman, a Founding Trustee of Scottsdale’s Museum of the West and avid art collector.
By Beauty Obsessed highlights select artworks from Waldman’s collection that showcase his distinct point of view, and his obsession with the beauty of the American West. Evident throughout the exhibition is his passion about the region – its people, histories and environments – and this show is intended to reveal the poignant spirit of these places through his vision, as he selectively collected these artworks over the course of four decades. We had the immense privilege of working directly with Gil to select the works seen here on display and to collect his thoughts on art and beauty. Sadly, Gilbert Waldman passed away in June of 2020, but his words and passion live on in this exhibition.
Gil Waldman grew up in Albany, New York. It was there that he first acquired an affinity for the Hudson River School artists, Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) and Thomas Moran (1837-1926). These artists created a legacy of some of the earliest depictions of Western North America, including locations familiar to us today as part of the National Park Service. Waldman’s early visits to Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico attracted him to the art of the Taos Society of Artists (TSA), which form the core of his collection. With the inquisitive mind of a true art enthusiast, Waldman was drawn to a broader array of artists creating works from diverse geographical regions.
Gil Waldman’s leadership, scholarship, and philanthropic support that he shared with our institution since its opening in 2015 greatly contributed to its many achievements, leading to recognition as a bona fide new museum of the 21st Century. We express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has participated in this exhibition with their professional commitment and skills, and most especially to the exhibition’s co-curator Christy Vezolles, Waldman’s wife, who is also an avid art collector, appraiser, writer, and Heard Museum Trustee.
By Beauty Obsessed presents artworks that illustrate four regional areas: Arizona, New Mexico, the Northern Great Plains, and the Mountain West. The paintings date from as early as the 1860s to 1950, and include landscapes, portraits, wildlife, human-animal interactions, and ceremonies.
We hope that you, the visitor, gain a great deal of pleasure and enjoyment from the show. It is an honor to share these works with you in tribute to Gilbert Waldman’s life and his enduring love of the arts of the American West.
This exhibition has been generously sponsored by Annadru and Richard Lampert, Zaplin Lampert Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Dr. Tricia Loscher, Assistant Director – Collections, Exhibitions & Research