Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art & Design


Rodeo is presented not as a by-product of the American Cowboy, but rather an ultimate evolution traceable to the caveman's struggle for survival. This primitive struggle became a -n the Island of Crete. Later it was refined and accepted as the major sporting spectacle of Spanish speaking peoples. From this tradition of highest contest excellence rodeo developed from frontier ranching duties in the Spanish Southwest.

Throughout each of these developmental periods artists seized upon the visual possibilities of this pagentry. Cave artists presented the hunt in a magical way, Minoan artists depicted the bull-leapers grace. Spanish artists, Goya and Picasso, painted the savagery of the bullfight arena. Americans like Remington and Russell superbly painted the Nineteenth Century cowboy, but few Twentieth Century painters have treated the cowboy or rodeo in a manner befitting its heritage. For this reason, Cowboy Art is a "black spot" in an art tradition which includes some of the most prominent names in Art History. The Rodeo has connotations of adventure, romance, and dynamics found in all the contributing stages of its development. It is merely its presentation that keeps it from claiming its rightful place in a meaningful art tradition.

A discussion of the weaknesses of cowboy art and contemporary artists who are bringing it back to respectability is given. Also considered are new interpretive possibilities of the cowboy theme and discussion of this writer's work in connection with these possibilities.