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Edward Borein (American, 1873-1945)

Also known as:  Borein, Edward; John Edward Borein

Birth Place: San Leandro (Alameda county, California, United States)

Biography:
Like his friends and artistic colleagues, Charles M. Russell and Maynard Dixon, Edward Borein brought first hand experience to his work as an artist of the American West. For much of his early adult years, he lived the life that he painted, working on cattle ranches up and down the California coast and into Mexico. He was born in San Leandro, California, and began drawing and sketching at a very early age. He also began working on cattle ranches as a teenager. While his parents encouraged his artistic ability and urged him to attend art school, he deferred his formal artistic training for many years in order to work as a cowhand. Like Russell, he was a keen observer of the life around him, and he chronicled in his art the everyday lives of the men who worked beside him. He was a prolific artist and painted on whatever material was close at hand, whether that was canvas, artist's board, or paper. He often, as in the case of Western Scene, utilized both sides of a canvas or board for drawing and sketching. The reverse of this painting includes his rough sketches and notes.

Borein moved to New York City in the early years of the twentieth century to further his career as an illustrator and to study etching and engraving at the Art Students League. He quickly became a master of that craft and continued making engravings throughout his career. He outfitted his studio in New York with props from his cowboy days and established a meeting place for other artists, such as Russell, Dixon, and James Swinnerton. After a decade in New York, Borein and his wife returned to his native California and settled in Santa Barbara.

Borein worked in a wide variety of media, including watercolors, oils, pen and ink, and gouache. He was a highly successful and sought after illustrator and produced work for many leading publications of the day. Pony Soldiers is an excellent example of his ability at visually telling a story to accompany the words of a writer. Throughout his career, Borein remained close to his original subject matter, the cattle ranching industry of the American West. Three Wandering Longhorns and Bucking Bronc are two classic examples of his talent. The latter, in particular, shows his ability to capture a moment of exhilaration and high drama in a small, but meticulous watercolor.

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