Making a Hand: The Art of H. D. Bugbee

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Texas A&M University Press, Oct 14, 2019 - Art - 116 pages
Sometime in 1947, a letter arrived in the mailbox of Harold Dow Bugbee, already a well-known and highly sought illustrator for western pulp magazines and other publications. “Sir,” it began, “I have seen several of your pictures in the Cattleman. Sure like them and I am writing you to ask if you have all of your pictures in a book—if you do—we want to buy one.”

“After seventy years of waiting,” writes Michael R. Grauer in this colorful survey of Bugbee’s life and career, “here is such a book.”

Bugbee and his family arrived in Clarendon, Texas, in 1914, from Massachusetts. He helped his father with the 1,000-acre family ranch and eventually attended the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, where he studied architectural drawing. Subsequently, he enrolled at the Cumming School of Art in Des Moines, Iowa, but left after two years when the founder of the school told the young Texan that he had learned all the school had to offer.

Bugbee avidly absorbed cowboy scenes and the lifestyle that birthed them. He filled canvases with colorful, authentic images that capture the spirit of the American West of the early to mid-1900s, especially in and near his beloved Texas Panhandle. By the 1930s, Bugbee was providing pen-and-ink sketches for magazines such as Ranch Romances, Western Stories, Country Gentleman, and Field and Stream.
This richly illustrated overview of the man and his art provides a valuable and entertaining resource for collectors and students of western and Texas art.

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1 Yankee Doodler
2 Tenderfoot in Texas
3 Earning His Spurs
4 Making a Hand
5 Roping the West
6 Crossing the Divide

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About the author (2019)

MICHAEL R. GRAUER is the McCasland Chair of Cowboy Culture and curator of Cowboy Collections and Western Art at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He is the coauthor of Dictionary of Texas Artists, 1800–1945 and the author of Rounded Up in Glory: Frank Reaugh, Texas Renaissance Man.

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