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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