The American Museum of Western Art, located in Denver, Colorado, is set to host another installment of its “Artful Insights” program. During the spring & summer months, typically on designated Mondays, the museum offers guided tours about a given artist, artworks, and topics. On Monday, May 4th, the museum will lead an “Artful Insight” tour focusing on the works of American artist William Jacob Hays (1830-1875).


New York-born Hays lived most of his life in the East but did make a significant trip to the American West in the summer of 1860. During the course of five months, he made his way up the Missouri River through the Great Plains to the Yellowstone River. His initial sketches at the time represented what the West looked like before the mass westward migration of non-Indigenous settlers following the end of the US Civil War (1865) and the completion of the first transcontinental railroad (1869).

A talented illustrator of animals, the bison was a favorite subject for Hays. The website for the museum shares a quote from the artist about the animal before its habitat was dramatically altered by the coming settler society:

As far as the eye can reach, wild herds are discernible’ and yet, farther behind these bluffs, over which they pour, the throng begins, covering sometimes the distance of a hundred miles… They form a solid column, led by the strongest and most courageous bulls, and nothing in the form of natural obstructions seems ever to deter their onward march… crossing rivers and other obstacles from which a horse would shrink.” –William Jacob Hays, 1861

PRAIRIE FIRE AND BUFFALO STAMPEDE 1869, Oil on Canvas, William Jacob Hays                             Image –

Further information about The American Museum of Western Art, its collection, and the “Artful Insights” program can be found at The Anschutz Collection

(Museum logo image –

(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)

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