Dickinson Research Center Logo National Cowboy & Western Heritage Logo
Skip Navigation Links

About the A. Keith Brodkin Contemporary Western Artists Project

Artist, Edward Fraughton

The Brodkin Project was formalized in February 2001 based upon a proposal drafted in January. The generous funding of the project insures the ongoing activities associated with the following initiatives: a) securing the materials through an active field program, b) properly storing, cataloging, and preserving the materials, and c) maintaining an efficient computerized retrieval process by which information about the materials is made available for research use.

On March 15, 2001 the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts transferred ownership of the Bettina Steinke papers, the first major collection acquired under the aegis of the Brodkin project.

Artist, Don Crowley

By December 21, 2009 the Dickinson Research Center had contacted 101 artists to solicit their participation in the project. Of these 101, 93 artists (92%) indicated a strong, reserved, or possible likelihood to participate. Of these 93 artists, 79 (85%) contributed tangibly by donating either clippings, magazine articles, books, and videotapes; or, by having interviews about their lives and careers recorded for inclusion in the Center's oral history holdings; or, by allowing art demonstrations video-recorded for inclusion in the Center's moving images holdings; or, finally, but most significantly, by donating their personal papers.

Most of these artists have had long associations with this museum through the National Academy of Western Artists. Several have been honored for their art with the Prix de West Award.

Several artists have generously donated their personal papers to the Brodkin Project: Tom Lovell, Bill Reese, Tom Ryan, Lowell Ellsworth Smith, Donald Teague, and Hollis Williford. Altogether 67 different artists have their oral histories recorded, preserved, and made available to visitors and researchers in the Research Center.

Artist, Bettina Steinke, photo by Don Blair

"A portrait is the interpretation of a personality, not a blueprint or a painstaking copy of eyes, nose and mouth. A portrait describes the entire figure even though it is a vignetted head. The head is very much connected to the rest of the figure and that is not as silly as it sounds! What the body does, how it moves, the way it stands is all reflected in the head. A perfect portrait can be made of a rear view of a figure, no face showing. A portrait head can be an exact likeness without the eyes, nose and mouth, simply by a careful painting of the muscles, and bony forms."
- Bettina Steinke (1913-1999), illustrator, genre, native figure and portrait artist (August 1977)

Project Photos

Examples of Bettina Steinke and Don Blair Collection archival processing
Artist, Harley Brown Artist, Tom Ryan Interview with artist Kenneth Riley
Dickinson Research Center
at the
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd St, Oklahoma City, OK 73111 (405) 478-2250
Copyright © 2017 National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum