JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. - The National Museum of Wildlife Art is tucked into a butte overlooking the National Elk Refuge and surrounded by the craggy peaks and wilderness of Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Inside is a collection no less inspired than, and often inspired by, its setting.
"In the world of wildlife art, we're the premier place, and we really strive to remain in that place," says Adam Harris, the curator. "We have an incredible synergy with the environment we're in."
There are works by more than 200 artists in the collection, which includes paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and archival materials dating from 2000 B.C. to the present. Artists range from John James Audubon to Eugène Delacroix, Albrecht Dürer to Pablo Picasso. "The range of art is what you would expect to see in a larger metro area, not here," Harris says.
Highlights among the 12 galleries include the nation's largest public collection of works by impressionist Carl Rungius and the studio collection of illustrator-turned-painter John Clymer, who turned to portraying Western history and wildlife after creating covers for The Saturday Evening Post.
Perhaps most memorable is the American Bison Collection, with more than 100 images portraying the symbol of Western wildlife. These include "Chief," a powerful, seductive, and spiritual painting by Robert Bateman, whom Harris considers "one of the best known and most accomplished living wildlife artists today."
National Museum of Wildlife Art, 2820 Rungius Road, Jackson Hole, Wyo., 800-313-9553, 307-733-5771, wildlifeart.org. Adults $10, seniors (age 66 and older) $9, 18 and under with adult free.