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William Robinson Leigh

William Robinson Leigh, The Buffalo Hunt, 1947, oil on Canvas. 78 1/8" x 126 1/4"

William Robinson Leigh (1866-1955) was an eager convert to Thomas Moran’s philosophy that an artist “should paint his own land.”  Born on a West Virginia farm, he drew animals at an early age.  When only twelve, Leigh won an award from a Washington, D.C. art collector, W. W. Corcoran, for a drawing of a dog.  Leigh studied at Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore and went on to Munich for training.  Leigh became a well-known illustrator when Scribner’s Magazine sent him to North Dakota on his first trip West in 1897.  Wanting to be a fine artist and not an illustrator, in 1906, Leigh persuaded Santa Fe Railway to send him west in return for a painting of the Grand Canyon.  His ability to portray horses and other animals with absolute accuracy made him a much sought-after western painter.

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