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Olaf Wieghorst

Birth place or City of origin:
State of origin:
Last known City: El Cajon
Last known State: CA
Start/Birth date: 1899
Death/End date: 1988

Son of a Copenhagen artist, Olaf began painting in 1916. With an affinity for rodeoing and trick riding, he found his way to Arizona, working as a ranch hand at the Quarter Circle 2C Ranch (his insignia). In 1923, he returned to New York City, graduating from the Police Academy and painting in his spare time. By 1942 he was receiving commissions for both horse portraits and bronzes and by 1944 Wieghorst retired from the Police Dept settling in El Cajon, California where he quickly garnered a waiting list of willing buyers including such renowned collectors as Amon Carter, C. R. Smith and Sid Richardson, whose names are virtually synonymous with western art. Olaf is considered one of the outstanding Western artists, with work in major museums throughout America. He has been honored with special exhibitions at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, San Diego Art Museum, Tucson Museum of Art and Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“I try to paint the little natural things, the way a horse turns his tail to the wind on cold nights, the way he flattens his ears in the rain, seasonal changes in the coat of a horse, and the psychology of his behavior. Horses have been my life.”

He is known for his cowboys and horses, most notably Roy Rogers’ ‘Trigger’ and Gene Autry’s ‘Champion’. He is considered to be one of the outstanding Western artists of his time.


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Olaf began painting in 1916. With an affinity for rodeoing and trick riding, he found his way to Arizona, working as a ranch hand at the Quarter Circle 2C Ranch (his insignia). In 1923, he returned to New York City, graduating from the Police Academy and painting in his spare time. By 1942 he was receiving commissions for both horse portraits and bronzes and by 1944 Wieghorst retired from the Police Dept settling in El Cajon, California where he quickly garnered a waiting list of willing buyers including such renowned collectors as Amon Carter, C. R. Smith and Sid Richardson, whose names are virtually synonymous with western art. Olaf is considered to be one of the outstanding western artists of his time.

A horse enthusiast from his earliest days, Wieghorst’s riding talents were put to use during his teenage years when he performed in Danish films and in the circus. Dreaming of the American West, Wieghorst arrived in New York in December 1918, at the age of 19. He had essentially no money and spoke no English but was still able to join the US Cavalry and was sent to Ft. Bliss, Texas, for basic training. Following his discharge from the military, Weighorst stayed in the Southwest and found employment at the ranch of Elton Cuningham in New Mexico, as well the cipher that was to become the trademark found on his mature works: 2C (under an inverse rocker bar) - the brand of the Quarter Circle 2C Ranch. It was during his period in the Southwest that Olaf developed an affinity for the Mexican Charro and all he came to represent.

 

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