Prior to the widespread availability of the automobile, artists experienced and explored the American West by train. By 1930, hundreds of artists and illustrators had enjoyed the patronage of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe; Northern Pacific; Southern Pacific, Great Northern; Canadian Pacific; Mexican Central; and other Western lines. Celebrated image makers of the American West, including Thomas Moran and Maynard Dixon, and less well-known designers and painters alike, courted Western railways for transportation, for sales, and for the international promotion of their work and interests. At the same time, rail companies sought naturalistic images of Western subjects that could be displayed in ticket offices and hotels, in traveling exhibitions, and reproduced on advertising materials to promote Western travel on their lines. This exhibition features paintings, studies, posters, and graphics that emerged from the parallel relationships between artists and commercial designers with Western rail companies between the late 1880s and early 1930s, which were key decades in passenger travel.
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