Robert Wesley Amick

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Robert Wesley Amick was a painter, teacher and illustrator. He was born October 15, 1879, in Canon City, Colorado. Amick was one of six children born to rugged pioneer stock. He was raised in the West with scenes of the everyday cowboy life.

After a common school education, Amick went to the University of Pennsylvania in 1900, to study law. Shortly thereafter, he transferred to Yale University at New Haven, Connecticut, where he graduated with a law degree in 1903. He had been doing pen and ink drawings, as a little boy, and worked for a short time in the art classes at Yale. However, he was discouraged by the law professors to continue his unmistakable talent in art due the lack of financial stability that came with the life of an artist.

Amick began to practice law in Ohio, yet, his longing to be an artist became too much of a burden. Amick left his law practice to study art seriously. He moved to New York and began to study under private tutors and entered the Art Students League. He acquired that technical expertise which is essential and a marked characteristic of his canvases. He began his art career by illustrating for many of the popular magazines and periodicals of his day, such as Harper’s, Scribner’s, The American, Redbook, Harperís Bazzar, and Metropolitan. This work earned him a comfortable living, and membership in the Society of Illustrators in 1913. In his New York studio, he began to express himself on canvas with oils.

Amick’s abiding affection for the scenes of his childhood, and the romantic phase of our early western history, were the two greatest influences on his work. They became the dominant motive and mission in his life and were reproduced in his oil paintings. His vivid colors, dynamic action and realistic portrayal of the western scenes made his works extremely popular with the calendar and lithographic companies during the 1920s and 1930s. His love of the mountains, azure sky, sharply etched light of the shadows of the sun, the vivid coloring of the arid sky, and cowboys and horses became his artistic trademark.

While Amick’s individual canvases may be found in most of the major private collections and museums of Western Art in the United States, perhaps he is best known for twelve of his subjects that have been reproduced in art prints for use in American schools. He was known as one of the foremost horse portrait painters. The portrait of Man O’ War is perhaps his most memorable work.

In his later years, Amick resided in Old Greenwich, Connecticut and spent much of his time as a portrait painter and an instructor in art classes. He died in 1969. Amick left a heritage for students and connoisseurs of Western Art.

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