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William Herbert Dunton (American, 1878-1936)


Also known as:  Dunton, W. Herbert

William Herbert "Buck" Dunton was born in Maine in 1878. Largely self-taught as a child, Dunton sold his first illustrative work to a newspaper at the young age of sixteen. It was at that time that he quit school to pursue a career as an illustrator and later enrolled in classes at the Cowles Art School in Boston and the Art Students League in New York. Following his education, Dunton became a well-respected and successful illustrator in New York but in 1896 found his true calling when he traveled to Montana. It was on that trip that he fell deeply in love with the nostalgia of the Old West, and that would remain his subject of choice for the remainder of his life.

During this time in Dunton's career, he had become one of the best known American illustrators working with such publications as Harper's Weekly, Cosmopolitan, Woman's Home Companion, and Zane. He was most notably recognized for his lively western outdoor scenes which often depicted dramatic episodes such as galloping cowboys avoiding a cloudburst, or a cowboy and his horse taking a dramatic spill. Despite his successful illustration career, Dunton grew tired of the pressures and demands of New York and moved to Taos in 1912 where he became one of the founding members of the Taos Society of Artist. Once in New Mexico, he accepted very few illustration commissions and focused more on preserving the life of the Old West through his art.

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