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Joe DeYong

Birth place or City of origin:
State of origin: MO
Last known City:
Last known State: CA
Start/Birth date: 1894
Death/End date: 1975

Born in Missouri, Joe moved to Oklahoma’s Indian Territory at an early age working as a cowboy and befriending Tom Mix. His career began after his convalescence from meningitis, which left him deaf. He lived with Charlie Russell from 1916 to 1926, becoming his only protege. After Russell’s death, DeYong moved to California to do costume and set-design work for movies. He was an accomplished artist in many mediums, and an important contributor to the Rancheros Visitadores, the elite Santa Barbara trail riding group. His list of friends included Will Rogers, Ed Borein, and Frank Tenney Johnson.

Joe DeYong was born in Missouri in 1894 moving to Indian Territory in Oklahoma at an early age. While working as a cowboy he became good friends with Tom Mix who brought him into the movie business. Working on a movie set in Prescott, AZ, he contracted spinal meningitis and lost his hearing. DeYong's interest in art lead him to correspond with Charles M. Russell who invited him to come to Montana. There, he lived with the Russells from 1916 to 1926, becoming Charlie’s only protege. During this period, Howard Eaton brought dude trips to Glacier Park and invited DeYong to join the ride where he painted plein-air landscapes of the Park for the riders After Russell's death, DeYong moved to California to do costume and set-design work for Cecil B. DeMille and others in the movie business. He was an accomplished artist in many mediums including oil, watercolor, charcoal or pencil, pen and ink, and etching. In the subsequent sixty years, De Yong spent a lot of time painting, modeling, and sculpting. Along the way he befriended a number of famous personalities including William "Bill" Gollings, Maynard Dixon, Will James, Will Rogers, William S. Hart, and several studio moguls. This list reads like the Who's Who of western art and entertainment of the period. His friendships with Rogers and Ed Borein led him to the illustrious Santa Barbara men’s riding group, the Rancheros Vistadores. In 1934, he joined the annual ride of the Rancheros which included prominent businessmen, ranchers, stage, screen, radio, and political celebrities. Each May the group covered 100 miles on horseback or stagecoach bunking at ranches along the way. DeYong became the de facto resident artist for the Rancheros often executing his vaquero themed art work using a leather burner


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