Ed Quigley: Cowboy Artist

“Speedy Ending,” an oil painting by Edward Quigley depicting wild horses running into a roundup trap. OHS Museum, 74-30.3.

September 3, 2021 – January 23, 2022

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Edward “Ed” Burns Quigley (1895–1984) was an artist known for his iconic depictions of the American West. Through paintings, sketches, and sculptures, he captured disappearing ways of life in the Pacific Northwest during the mid-twentieth-century, including great cattle drives and wild horse roundups with the Yakama Nation.

Quigley was born on December 20, 1895, in Park River, North Dakota. At a young age, his family moved to Spokane, Washington, where he spent the rest of his childhood. He showed an early talent for drawing, winning a prize at the Spokane Interstate Fair when he was seven.

As a young man, Quigley became determined to work as a professional artist. He saved money working as a riveter at the shipyards in Portland and then moved to Chicago, first studying at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and then at the Art Institute of Chicago. He quickly found employment as a commercial artist, working for catalogs and advertising agencies. Despite his success, he missed the West, and decided to move back in the early 1930s.

By the 1940s, Quigley was gaining a name for himself in Oregon, and in 1946, he had his first solo show. During this time, he formed friendships with members of the Yakama Nation and with ranchers and other locals in Eastern Oregon that would provide the inspiration for the rest of his long artistic career. Through various mediums, he created depictions of the people who inspired him, producing artworks of the American West as he had experienced it.