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Olaf Wieghorst (American, 1899-1988)


Also known as:  Wieghorst, Olaf Carl

Birth Place: Denmark (Europe)

"Horses have been my life," Olaf Wieghorst once wrote. "I try to paint the little natural things, the way a horse turns his tail to the wind on cold nights, the way he flattens his ears in the rain . . . and the psychology of his behavior." Born in Denmark in 1899, Wieghorst rode horses on a stock farm as a youth and, shortly after arriving in New York in 1918, enlisted in the fifth U.S. Cavalry. Following his military post, where he learned rodeo trick riding, he worked as a ranch hand in Arizona and in 1925 joined the mounted division of the New York City Police Academy. A move to California in 1945 prompted Wieghorst to pursue full-time the painting and sculpting he had begun in New York. Although equine portraits dominate his oeuvre, Wieghorst also painted western landscapes and realist portraits of Native Americans and cowboys.

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