Wyoming Arts Council

Historic Artwork On Display at Wyoming State Capitol

This news comes from David Newell, curator of art at the Wyoming State Museum in Cheyenne:

A remarkable collection of oil paintings, created by Montana artist J.K. Ralston, is now on display at the Wyoming State Capitol.

The 24 paintings in the collection document significant events in the life of Shoshone Chief Washakie.

“From 1945 to 1968 the paintings were displayed in the dining room of the Noble Hotel in Lander,” notes David L. Newell, curator of Art at the Wyoming State Museum.  “When the hotel changed owners the paintings were removed and have been in storage for more than 40 years.”

Newell approached the owners of the collection with the idea of displaying the artworks at the state capitol as part of the Legislative Artwork Donation Program. The works are currently on loan.

“I was looking for a significant collection to occupy the walls on the second floor of the capitol between the House and Senate Chambers. This collection was the perfect fit and the perfect theme for the space,” added Newell.

The Legislative Artwork Donation Program annually solicits quality artworks, either for donation or loan, to decorate the walls of the capitol building. Several works have been donated and form a permanent collection that hangs in the House and Senate Chambers.

“The works in the collection are all specifically themed to Wyoming,” explains Newell. “This series of paintings depicting the life of Chief Washakie was a perfect complement. I am so grateful that the owners agreed to the loan.  With the relocation of the monumental bronze sculpture of Chief Washakie from the first floor rotunda lobby to the exterior of the capitol, it is nice to have Washakie’s presence once more inside the building.”

The collection is available for viewing at the state capitol in Cheyenne during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The paintings will remain on display for the next year.

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