Bob and Charla Interviewed in Western Art and Architecture
Posted January 21st, 2015 by Manitou Galleries
February/March Issue of Western Art and Architecture
Collector’s Eye: With three galleries, two auctions and two museums to run, Bob and Charla Nelson are collector’s to their core.
The bright notes of a mariachi band waft down Palace Avenue, past the New Mexico Museum of Art, it’s Pueblo revival style architecture a blend of Pueblo and Spanish influence and the perfect compliment to the music. You can hear the guitarron and the brass horns all the way to the historic downtown plaza, drawing seekers every First Friday to Manitou Gallery. From a second story portal on the front of one of their Santa Fe galleries, the musicians bring brightness and joy to those who come for the art.
The marriage of music and art is appropriate in the context of gallery owners Bob and Charla Nelson. Married 15 years ago, the couple combined their love for music and art into a formidable operation of museums, galleries and auctions.
With galleries in Santa Fe and Cheyenne, Wyoming, these two Wyoming natives recently lended their talents as appraisers to “Arizona Collectibles,” a locally produced TV show for Arizona’s PBS, the state’s answer to “Antiques Roadshow.”
As history buffs, their interest in Western artifacts is broad. Bob established Manitou Gallery in Cheyenne while practicing law. As a result of collecting full time since 1994, he founded the Nelson Museum of the West and the Military Memorial Museum. Add to that two galleries in Santa Fe and two annual auctions, March in Montana and Auction in Santa Fe, and the couple manages seven businesses in three states. It’s enough to keep the Nelsons busy, they say, but not too busy to spend time with their family; together Bob and Charla have four children and nine grandchildren.
WA&A: What inspires you to collect art?
Bob: Personally, I think you are born with a desire. I started collecting at a young age: coins, rocks, matchbook covers. During my teen years, I collected antique firearms. After college I began collecting Native American collectibles. When I finished law school, I would buy whole collections so I could pick them first. Of course, then I had a lot of merchandise to liquidate. That’s how I got into the gallery business.
Charla: Bob inspired me because I am a newcomer to collecting. I now have 15 years of experience. I was in music and accounting, and when I met Bob everything meshed together - the beauty of the pieces and the history of them. Bob is my inspiration.
WA&A: What was the first piece you bought and what made you choose it?
Bob: The first piece that I really had to have was a Birger Sandzen, 36 by 48 inch oil painting. It took me a year to pay for it in 1970. It is a beauty, a painting of the spires of Utah.
Charla: My first piece was a Ron Stewart oil painting I purchased at March in Montana about 14 years ago. It is a little jewel. It’s in our living room in Cheyenne.
WA&A: What is your most beloved piece and why?
Bob: I would have to answer that in categories of collectibles, one in each category. I am different than many other collectors because I never sell off a collection. After I collected firearms, then went on to Native American collectibles, I never sold the firearms collection. The fact is, if I had to decide on one piece from all of the collections, I would have to say, I love the Birger Sandzen piece….But still, I like it all!
Charla: The one piece that keeps popping to mind is the one Bob gave me. It’s a Burt Proctor painting of an adobe church which hangs in our master in Wyoming. It’s a 10 on a scale of one to ten.
WA&A: At what point did you consider yourself a collector?
Bob: I was born a collector, and as I said I truly believe most people who collect are the same way. It’s not an acquired taste. You can be a buyer for monetary gain, but if collecting is in your genes, it’s an addiction. It just happens to be a positive one….
WA&A: With which living artists would you most like to have dinner?
Bob: I would like to have a one-on -one dinner with Howard Terpning. He would be pretty interesting. I’ve talked to him at shows, but I think we would like to have a lot to talk about.
Charla: Morgan Weistling. He’s one of my favorite painters because he paints children. We have nine grandchildren, so you can see why I’m partial to children. At the Master’s show in Los Angeles, Mian Situ was wonderful to have dinner with. I admire him and admire his work.
WA&A: If you could be or meet any artist in history, who would it be?
Bob: It would have to be Charlie Russell. He was the last of the real true cowboy artists who worked the range. And what a character! Of course, then there is VanGogh and Monet. And currently we are turned on to Sorolla. Man, we got a dose of his work on a recent trip to Spain.
Charla: We loved the exhibit Sorolla y los Estados Unidos, showcasing the work he made while in the United States. I would love to have met Monet. He would be my choice for sure. He painted even when his eyesight was going, and he worked in all mediums.
WA&A: What was the one that got away?
Bob: The “ones” that got away for me were the things I knew were great and I couldn’t buy them! That spurred me on. I had to figure out a way to make money. I missed out on a lot of Charlie Russells.
WA&A: Where will your collection be in 100 years?
Bob: In the Nelson Museum of the West in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and in the Military Memorial Museum.
Charla: Our children appreciate art and have it in their homes. If there’s something they want from our collection, it’s family first. Then, of course, everything else remains in the museums.
Welcome, Josh Tobey!
Posted January 15th, 2015 by Manitou Galleries
Manitou Galleries welcomes Josh Tobey to our roster of artists!
Josh is the son of renowned ceramic and bronze sculptors Gene and Rebecca Tobey. At 37 years old, he is well established in the Western art world creating bronze sculptures of wildlife featuring contemporary patinas. Renowned for this patina work, Josh combines his love of art and his lifelong passion for the outdoors in his bronze sculpture. Sometimes called whimsical, Josh's work also has a serious side; it depicts the "interdependence of wildlife and humanity" by revealing aspects of human emotion, experience and culture through wildlife sculpture. His work ranges in size from miniature to monumental.
Josh's work has been featured in several national magazines, including the cover artist for Wildlife Art. In 2012, he was honored as the poster artist for the Loveland Sculpture Invitational and became an elected member of the National Sculpture Society. Josh has also participated in several museum exhibits and events across the country including: Wheel Wright Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, the Booth Western Art Museum, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and the Gilcrease Museum.
Tobey's public installation sites include the Medical Center of the Rockies in Colorado, the Na'Aina Kai Botanical Garden in Hawaii, Western State College in Colorado, Raymond James Financial Center in Florida, and Phoenix Children's Hospital. Most recently, Tobey has been named the featured artist at the 2014 Fall Arts Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and is the first scupltor to receive this award.
Posted January 2nd, 2015 by Manitou Galleries
We all had a great time at our annual Manitou Holiday Party. Especially Jill, who won the big money pot in our Choose to Lose game.
It was a great year at the gallery, and we are looking forward to a fantastic 2015. We have big news and some great exhibitions on the horizon. We will be adding a few new artists to our roster. Please check back soon, we will be introducing them in the near future.
Happy New Year from everyone at Manitou Galleries!
William Haskell at the Albuquerque Museum
Posted October 30th, 2014 by Manitou Galleries
Manitou Artist, William Haskell was recently included in the Albuquerque Museum's Miniatures and More Show. This show is a selective juried show and is a fundraiser for the Albuquerque Museum. All three of William's paintings sold with multiple bids and went to help the museum. This is a photo of William Haskell speaking with one of the show's visitors on opening night.
Congratulations Kim Wiggins!
Posted October 30th, 2014 by Manitou Galleries
Congratulations to Manitou Artist, Kim Wiggins for earning a Heritage Award from the Historical Society for Southeastern New Mexico. Kim Wiggins, along with Dorothy Peterson were honored. This is a photo of Kim accepting his award.
Bob Nelson on Arizona Collectibles!
Posted October 5th, 2014 by Manitou Galleries
Click here to watch episodes of Arizona collectibles featuring Manitou Galleries owner, Bob Nelson!
New Paintings from Harry Greene
Posted September 24th, 2014 by Manitou Galleries
We are very excited about Harry Greene's new work and the changes in his color pallette. His new shifts are certainly working well! The following text is from Harry:
"My attempt is to take viewers of my work beyond the obvious picturesque qualities of romantic ruin - former places of refuge and communal ceremony, poetically enhanced by the tranquility of desertion and loaded with ghosts.
The representation is always symbolic. Collapsing structures that are mysteries of stolid stone and clay, listing in wild weeds and baked ruts of earth that keep their secrets from us, but not the evidence of life, are symbolic. It is my will that they should be considered by folks as an apotheosis of human endurance.
For those who collect my work and have followed it over the years, you will notice an increased sense of glorification though the handling of color and a ripening of the primary principles: life, death, and rebirth.
It is always a wonder to me that the buttery summer afternoons, the effulgence of a brilliant western sky, swelling thunderheads, threatening storms, lavender nights - scenery often presented - becomes, with no effort, original and unique every single time.
I never tire of being at bat. Probably my expression in paint is a weak swing at the incredible screwball of metaphysical events. Still, I try to illustrate the indelible history of the life dream that is not confined to this earth. Is this too mush to ask of a painting? Maybe. But I, like all of us, do what I must."
Santa Fe, 2014
A message from Bob
Posted August 27th, 2014 by Manitou Galleries
Bob Nelson, the owner of Manitou Galleries and the Nelson Museum of the West, would like to thank all of our artists and collectors who made this year's Indian Market one of our most successful weekends ever. Thanks everyone! We appreciate your hard work and patronage.
Posted August 25th, 2014 by Manitou Galleries
I've never seen so many of our artists in one place! So much talent in this photo! Thank you to all of the artists and collectors who attended our dinner in honor of the Booth Museum.
Seated from left: Jennifer O'Cualain, Martha Pettigew
Standing first row: JD Challenger, Bob Nelson (Gallery Owner), Fran Larsen, Liz Wolf, Gail Gash Taylor, Del Pettigrew
Standing second row: Kim Wiggins, Tom Perkinson, Ethelinda, Jim Eppler
Standing third row: Steve Worthington, Jerry Jordan, Roger Hayden Johnson
Standing fourth row: Paul Rhymer, William Haskell, Jeff Cochran, David Knowlton, BC Nowlin
It's a bird! It's a plane!....
Posted August 7th, 2014 by Manitou Galleries
.....It's Martha Pettigrew's sculpture, "Gossip", heading to it's new home on Canyon Road. Please stop by the gallery to see this beautiful artwork in person.
Formerly an illustrator, Martha Pettigrew has established herself as one of the foremost Western contemporary sculptors. Her work has been accepted in such prestigious and exclusive exhibitions as: Settlers West’s The Great American West Show, Tucson Arizona; Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s Birds in Art, Wausau, Wisconsin; Women Artists and the West, Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona; and Sculpture in the Park, Loveland, Colorado.
Pettigrew says, “I find the everyday tasks of the native people of the Southwest, especially the women, to be an endless source of inspiration. If I have achieved my goal as a sculptor if the viewer feels an emotional attachment and never tires of seeing the piece. The sculpture may become a source of inspiration in their lives.”
Kim Wiggins in Western Art Collector!
Posted July 22nd, 2014 by Manitou Galleries
Congratulations to Kim Wiggins! Kim was featured in the July issue of Western Art Collector. The article provides a fascinating biography of Kim's history, his deep roots in the American West and his beliefs about art. Some highlights include accounts of Kim's father, who was a famous photojournalist, and Kim's mother - a very well known rodeo cowgirl, nightclub owner and art collector. Kim became introduced to art primarily through his father's art gallery on Canyon Road, and his connection with many well known Western Modernists such as,
Wyeth, Hurd, Randall Davey, Bisttram, and Alexandre Hogue. You can read more about Kim Wiggins and his interesting history in his article at www.westernartcollector.com.
New Work by Roger Rossi
Posted July 17th, 2014 by Manitou Galleries
Our Palace Avenue location is showing new work by Roger Rossi. His new oil paintings feature the architecture and floriculture of Santa Fe. Rossi's new subjects include the famous St. Francis Cathedral and the charming courtyards and adobes near Canyon Road. The paintings are teeming with plant life and are painted with surprisingly crisp details that reward careful inspection. Personally, I really like how Roger Rossi's paintings look nearly photgraphic from across the room. However, as one nears the surface of the painting, all of the expressive brushstrokes and painterly activity becomes apparent.
Roger frequently travels to Europe, where he finds inspiration for his paintings in the landscapes and gardens of Italy, France, Spain and England. He serves on the Board of the Salmagundi Club, the Allied Artists of America, Audubon Artists and the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibitions. He exhibits continually with these organizations and is a member of Oil Painters of America and the Artist Fellowship.
Wayne Salge's Cecil installed in a public park in Little Rock!
Posted June 17th, 2014 by Manitou Galleries
Wayne Salge's "Cecil" being loaded, unloaded and permanently installed along the river walk area in Little Rock, AR, April, 2014."Cecil" is an edition of 6 – 16'h x 6'w x 4'd – bronze with stainless steel pyramid – $80,000.00.
Liz Wolf on the Cover of Southwest Art!
Posted June 12th, 2014 by Manitou Galleries
Sunday With the Artists
Posted June 10th, 2014 by Manitou Galleries
Sunday June 8th marked the first of our seasons “Sunday with the Artists” events. Alvin Gill-Tapia joined us at our Manitou Galleries location at 225 Canyon Road to discuss his life and artistic development with a group of clients. Alvin Gill-Tapia has been a painter for over 20 years. Through his mentorship from a stunning roster of teachers and artists along with his many years in the New York art scene, Alvin developed his unique artistic style. In addition to his artistic development, Alvin discussed the architecture of his native Northern New Mexico. He draws great inspiration from its beauty and history. Alvin showed slides of both the architecture of the area as well as his own personal artistic perspective on these historic sites, discussing his technique and relationship with each piece. It was an honor to host this dynamic and engaging artist for our first “Sunday with the Artists” event of 2014.
Join us next month on July 6th from 2-3 pm for our next “Sunday with the Artists” event featuring Jim Eppler.