Joseph Kleitsch | My Garden (The Artist’s Home, Laguna Beach) | Oil on Canvas | 36 x 40 inches | Courtesy of Bonhams

Editor’s Note: Exploring Western Aesthetics

Welcome to another issue of Western Art & Architecture, where we celebrate the vibrant and evolving world of Western art, architecture, and design. This issue shares stories that highlight the exceptional talent and creativity of artists and architects who are shaping the visual and cultural landscape of the American West.

Inside, you’ll discover the new creative direction artist Krystii Melaine is exploring while she prepares for a retrospective at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art (“The Trailblazer,” pg. 148). Melaine’s new, deeply personal series of ethereal female figures has expanded her artistic repertoire and garnered interest from collectors. Her story is a testament to the power of artistic evolution and the courage to explore original creative horizons.

As we reflect on the timeless allure of the American West, few figures evoke its essence more vividly than Will James. An upcoming exhibition at Claggett/Rey Gallery in Edwards, Colorado, Cowboys North and South, commemorates the 100th anniversary of James’ first published book. James, whose legacy as both an illustrator and author has left an indelible mark on Western art, captured the imagination of many. During Cowboys North and South, in addition to works by James, artists will pay homage to his legacy, showcasing over 100 pieces that explore themes ranging from the solitary cowboy’s resilience to the timeless bond between man and horse (“Reviving Will James’ Spirit,” pg. 136).

Another highlight of this issue is the architectural design of Casa Moderna in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This contemporary retreat, designed by Hoopes Architects, blends modern architecture with the serene beauty of its natural surroundings. The home’s warm spaces and seamless connection to the outdoors create a sanctuary for relaxation and entertainment. We delve into the meticulous design process and the details that make Casa Moderna a thoughtful reflection of contemporary architecture (pg. 142).

Also in this issue, we discover a dream home created for a couple and their children in the private community of Martis Camp in Truckee, California. The homeowners envisioned a house that would serve as a legacy for future generations. The design team’s collaborative effort transformed the couple’s vision into reality, incorporating materials like white oak, charcoal-gray stone, and Western red cedar. The result is a stunning, functional home that continues to impress the homeowners (pg. 154).

We hope these stories, and the many others you find inside, inspire and delight you, whether you are an artist, an architect, a collector, or simply someone who appreciates Western culture. We hope this issue sparks your imagination and deepens your appreciation for the creativity that flourishes in this remarkable part of the world.

Christine Rogel, Editor in Chief

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