As 2016 comes to a close I reflect back on what was accomplished this year and look ahead toward our goals for next year. The year opened with a final few weeks of the “Olaf Retrospective of Oils” loaned to the Museum for a three month exhibit. Even though this exhibit contained art loaned from several sources, the majority of the oils were from the private collection of Roy and Barbara Wieghorst This was the first time their collection of art was provided for public viewing, and I hope many of you had the opportunity to see and enjoy it. With this collection on display, we realized that in order to retain the legacy of Olaf Wieghorst in El Cajon, and the future of the Museum, we would eventually need to bring the Wieghorst collection back on a permanent basis. One of our more important accomplishments this past year was to work out an arrangement with Roy and Barbara Wieghorst, to gift their private collection of Olaf’s art to the Museum, a few pieces a year over the next several years. Thank you to Roy and Barbara for the generous gift and to Ross Provence, Lynn Endicott, and Jim Daniels for working on the project.
The Olaf Wieghorst Museum will be open limited hours for the rest of the summer through the end of September. As a new Courtyard Marriott is being built across the street from the Museum, there is very little, if any, parking during the week. The modified hours are: Thursdays & Fridays, 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. and will include tours of the historic Wieghorst House. Please call 619.590.3431 if you have questions. Thank you for your interest in the Wieghorst Museum and we hope to see you soon.
Unlike other contemporary western artists, Mr. Wieghorst actually lived the scenes he renders with such insight. Cowboy, horse cavalryman, ranch hand and friend of the Indians, he roamed the West during its transition fromopen range to the modern world. He knows, first hand, the sights and people that are brought to life with such a graceful blend of impressionistic skill and authenticity.
Recognized as the “Dean of Western Painters”, Wieghorst’s work is often compared with that of Remington and Russel, and his paintings hang in the great public and private collections of western art.
Samuels’ Encyclopedia Of Artists Of The American West by Peggy and Harold Samuels; Book Sales, Inc., 1985. says of Wieghorst:
“(He) specialized in horses of the West and was known for as an illustrator and sculptor. Wieghorst was the son of a display artist and photograph retoucher who became an engraver. He was educated in the Copenhagen public schools. Interest in horses developed while he apprenticed in a store and on a farm so he began painting in 1916. While working as a sailor in 1918, he jumped ship in New York City where he enlisted in the U. S. Cavalry for a duty on the Mexican border. During his three years of military service as a horseshoer, he learned rodeoing and trick riding. He was mustered out in Arizona, finding work as a ranch hand on the Quarter Circle 2C Ranch whose brand became Wieghorst’s insignia. In 1923, he returned to New York City, graduating from the Police Academy in 1925. Assigned to the Police Show Team of the Mounted Division, Wieghorst began to paint in his spare time. In 1940, he found an agent for his paintings which immediately sold them as calendar art and as Western illlustrations. By 1942, he was receiving commissions for horse portraits and bronzes. In 1944, Wieghorst retired from the Police Department, settling in El Cajon, California in 1945. By 1955, he had a waiting list of buyers. “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, seasonal changes in the coat of a horse, and psychology of his behavior. Horses have been my life.”
This past year has proven to be busy and fruitful for the Wieghorst Western Heritage Center. The dedication of the Board of Directors and volunteers has produced several milestones for 2011:
• Six Board members met in the spring to craft a 5-year Strategic Plan which was adopted in July and which now sets the vision for the Museum.
• Olaf Wieghorst painted the Old West with a deep understanding of its culture and he felt that every child should know and appreciate the Indian and Cowboy/Rancher heritage of our past. This year the Museum toured over 600 3rd and 4th graders from our local schools. Each free tour included bus transportation, docent led tours of the gallery and the original Wieghorst heritage home as well as a hands-on experience with artifacts from the 1800’s.
• 2011 also ushered in a new event and smash hit in the form of the 1st Annual Western Music Jubilee held at Cuyamaca Community College in June. The packed concert hall was filled with toe-tapping cowboy music from a group of stellar performers. It was a very successful fund-raiser for the Museum. See you in June 2012 for the 2nd Annual Jubilee!
• As of November, the Museum has a new state-of-the art Website. It is very user-friendly for keeping track of our events, programs and activities. Visit us today at: www.wieghorstmuseum.org.
• The Auxiliary enjoyed its first full year of activities by sponsoring the 2nd Annual Christmas Luncheon and Auction, the Fashion show at Viejas Casino and Intermission time at the Western Music Jubilee.
As outlined in our Strategic Plan, the Board continues to look to the future and is establishing plans for growth of our physical plant. Phase I, being developed now, is a remodel of our Rea Street façade which will also allow for a hands-on student exhibit area along the north wall of the gallery. A new gallery entrance is already completed and there are plans for some wall remodeling inside the gallery.
This first Annual Fund Drive, which is an initiative from the Strategic Plan, will help secure the future of the Museum, its one-of-a-kind western heritage education programs, the Wieghorst fine art gallery and heritage home and also as a public venue for this community. We thank you for your past support and hope that you will find it possible to make a year-end donation to the Wieghorst Western Heritage Foundation. Since its inception, the Museum has utilized all of its funds to enhance the museum and it programs. You can be assured that your charitable gift will be used for the benefit of the community. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and your gift is 100% tax-deductible.
President: Wieghorst Museum