Edward Borein (1872-1945)
(first essay to come before the start of the second session) Edward Borein, Artist of the West by Katherine H. Haley Reprinted from: Western Horseman and Edward Borein: The Katherine H. Haley Collection catalogue of The Phoenix Art Museum, 1988 Edward Borein was one of the truly great cowboy artists who saw firsthand everything that appeared in his great volume of creative work, which spanned two centuries. He was born in 1872, in San Leandro, California, and his first sketches were found in his grammar school geography book. These were noted by his mother who later enrolled him in a San Francisco art school, paying three months tuition in advance. Ed stayed only a month, saying that he couldn't stand the static exercises required. During his boyhood, he observed a herd of long-horns that were being driven to pasture but had broken away and run through the town square of San Leandro. This was Ed's first view of the life of the cowboy and it made a lasting impression upon him. This memory haunted him and he left home, at an early age, and took his first job for pay on a little spread at Niles, just south of San Jose, California. From there, he drifted south to Santa Maria and took a job on the vast Rancho Jesus Y Maria, now the site of Vandenberg Air Force Base. It was 1908, after specializing in illustration in San Francisco, that Borein took off for New York City to further his art career. He rented space in the Knickerbocker Building for a studio as well as living quarters. He met Charlie Russell at this time and founded what was to be a lasting friendship. Charlie Russell, who was himself such a great colorist, said that no other man was ever able to capture the subtle coloring of the sage, the oak, and the chapparal of the west as perfectly as Borein. Borein had just as great a regard for Russell as an artist. Each time that Charlie would come to New York to sell some of his paintings, he would stop by Ed's place and suggest that they would get some of the "gang" together for beef, beans and good conversation about the West. The "gang" included such personalities as Will Rogers, Buck Jones, and Guy Weadick, to mention only a few. It was during one of these "bull sessions" that Weadick, who was a rodeo promoter, conceived the idea of the Calgary Stampede and asked Ed to design the original posters. In 1921, John Edward Borein (the artist rarely used his first name) and Lucille Maxwell were married in the Pasadena home of C.F. Lummis. It was he who had paid Ed $15. for a group of drawings; this had been his first art sale back in his cowboy days. The newlyweds moved into an apartment in the De La Guerra Adobe in Santa Barbara and Ed set up shop next door in the old Alexander Harmer Studio. Luis Orega, who is known by many western horsemen and cattlemen for his artistry in rawhide braiding, met Ed Borein in the early 1930's and spent 3½ years in Ed's El Paseo studio. Luis became intimately acquainted with Ed's work as well as his personality. No one living today knew Borein any better then he, or is more conversant about his cowboying experiences and travels. During this period, Ed rarely got to his studio before noon, as he preferred to work on his watercolors at home without the interruptions of the constant stream of visitors and friends to his place of business. Luis would open the studio at 9 a.m. and when the postman arrived by mid-morning, he would open the mail and call Ed to report the contents. Luis was expected to take over the salesman's duties as well as working on his own rawhide work. My great interest in the work of Edward Borein stems from childhood visits to his studio. It was a wonderful experience to listen to his stories about bygone days while watching him sketch a cowboy roping a steer. These "doodlings" would be brushed to the floor when the story ended, to be salvaged by Mrs. Borein or offered to friends who might drop by the studio. Today, you'll find them framed for sale in art galleries all over America. The reason that none of these pen-and-inks were signed was that the artist never expected them to be collected as an artwork. However, they are always recognizably Borein by his authentic, fresh style. These memories of Borein stayed in a pocket in my mind, to be savored and enjoyed, hoping that someday I would own some Borein etchings. In 1959, the opportunity to start my collection arose upon seeing a chance advertisement in the California Cattleman magazine announcing the sale of etchings from the private collection of Mrs. Borein. Harold Davidson of Santa Barbara was acting as agent. There is an interesting story behind each of my purchases and I have made some wonderful friendships in my quest for one each of Borein's 283 etchings made during his lifetime, portraying life on the range, the Indians and Mexico. Borein did not number his etchings, nor did he keep a record of how many pulls were made of each plate. The rarity of certain ones can only be ascertained by the scarcity of their occurrence in collections. Ed had a close circle of collectors who purchased each one that he printed. For this special group, he would add a penciled figure or scene on the lower left-hand corner, pursuant to the subject etching. This is known as a remarque. For some reason, Ed changed his own signature on these etchings several times during his lifetime. The difference in the signature has been questioned by some, but these are all authentic. Borein will always be best known as an etcher, but comes in a close second as a watercolorist. It was only a few years ago that I was able to find my first watercolor. It portrays the artist's firsthand knowledge of the subject and his wonderful way with color. His style is unmistakable. No one knows the number of watercolors that he painted but needless to say, he was prolific. Ed produced some outstanding dry brush and pen-and-ink drawings, which were illustrations for stories that he did during his New York period. I was fortunate to find a great example of this medium while stopping in at Fred Rosenstock's bookstore in Denver during the National Western Livestock Show. Ed was an excellent horseman himself, and enjoyed taking time off from his studio to go out to friends' ranches for an afternoon's ride. He would also ask Luis Orega to come over to his barn and saddle Ed's horse and ride him around while swinging a reata. Ed would take snapshots of Luis to use in later works so he would keep the authentic feel. Authenticity and accurateness of detail of the subject were both his trademarks. Because of his great love of horses and horseback riding, he got the idea in 1929 for the formation of what later became one of America's most famous riding groups. He conveyed his thoughts to Elmer Awl that year and as a result, the first ride took place May 9, 1930, with John H. Mitchell as president leading 90 riders through the Santa Ynez Valley. The Rancheros Visitadores have annually ridden the same country ever since, except for several years during World War II. The members' roster, published each year, is illustrated with pen-and-ink sketches by Borein, and the bucking-horse insignia was designed by Ed. The original of this drawing hangs in the headquarters, in an old adobe in Santa Barbara. Ed Borein's large circle of friends was shocked and saddened by his sudden death on May 19, 1945. He was stricken in his studio, and removed by friends to his home, where he died quickly. These friends wondered how they could honor his memory and so in 1950 a group of them published a beautiful volume, limited to 1,001 copies, of which 999 were offered for sale. A sketch of his life was written by his good friend, Dr. Nat Wills, and 75 etchings from Mrs. Borein's collection were included as well as watercolors reproduced from these friends' collections. Collections of the work of Borein can be viewed at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Okalahoma City; the Gilcrease Institute in Tulsa; Whitney Gallery of Western Art in Cody, Wy.; Will Rogers State Park, Santa Monica, Calif.; Santa Barbara Historical Society Museum; the main office of the Santa Barbara News-Press; the library of the Santa Barbara Mission; the Glenbow Foundation, Calgary, Alberta; and Rockwell Museum, Corning, New York. During the 1900's, Edward Borein's etchings were collected in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and France. To quote from an exhibition of the Francis E. Bliss collection in 1928 in Santa Barbara, Bliss wrote: "We are told in the New Testament that 'a prophet is not without honour, save in his own country', and this saying holds equally good today even when applied to some others than prophets. In the present instance it is applicable to an artist who dwells in our midst, but the importance of whose work has apparently not been fully appreciated hitherto as it should have been by his fellow townsmen. (second essay to come before the start of the second session) Katherine H. Haley - Patroness of the Arts Katherine Haley was a strong independent thinker, who was very decisive regarding the direction of her extremely active professional and personal life. When she began acquiring Edward Borein etchings and watercolors in the late 1960's, she developed an early vision of what she wanted her collection to become. The seeds of her passion for the artwork of Edward Borein were planted when she was very young on visits to the artist's Santa Barbara studio with her parents. In Kay's mature years, her intrigue for Edward Borein stayed in the back of her mind. A chance siting in a local advertisement connected her with a gentleman, Harold Davidson, who ultimately became instrumental in nurturing her passion, knowledge and in particular, the content and direction of her art collection. Davidson is the foremost authority on the life and work of Edward Borein, and throughout the years, he was generous in bestowing his insights, guidance and experiences with Kay Haley in assisting her assemble an unparalleled collection of the works of Edward Borein. The following are excerpts from Harold Davidson's memories and experiences with Kay Haley. Whenever Mr. and Mrs. Walter Hoffman, with their daughter Kay, visited Santa Barbara, about one hour car ride from their Ventura home, father always scheduled a trip at Ed Borein's studio, where he inspected any new etchings or drawings. He would also look over Ed's new watercolors, which had begun to attract the art buyers. Kay was nearly always with her father during these visits. For several years, I had been buying, selling and appraising the works of Edward Borein, and I had recently received a large collection of Borein material to sell on a consignment basis, and I would run ads in the local papers, and Western journals and advertisement. I advertised this collection in a Ventura newspaper, and Kay Haley called, requesting information regarding the prices, sizes and titles. Apparently, she was interested, and asked that I transport the pictures, probably about 75 items, to her large ranch-style home on a hilltop near Ojai, California. She helped me unload the etchings, watercolors and drawings, and arrange them around the room so that her husband could make a selection, when he arrived home later in the evening. The next morning, she called again, and listed about thirty of the collection, and requested a statement of the amount and arranged to pick up the unsold items. I was happy to oblige! This was the beginning of the fabulous Katherine Haley's Edward Borein collection. In later years, she always expressed regret concerning our first meeting, remarking "I should have bought the whole collection." After her first purchase, she commenced to purchase Western art. She dealt with many dealers around the country, and it would be wrong to claim that I was her only dealer, but I was the one who got her going on Edward Borein. She consulted me on every purchase of Borien material, in addition to purchasing many of my Edward Borein's. Kay had an innate sense of what was right and proper in judging prospective purchases. She never bickered or haggled over a price. I would lay out several Borein items. She would examine them quietly, ask a few questions, then select several and write out a check on the spot. She had a passion for Edward Borein watercolors, etchings, and memorabilia, etc. and assembled a collection of the finest available. She became very selective and often sold or traded works in her collection that were not the best quality and was constantly upgrading. Eventually she amassed a collection of Edward Borein's works that is unmatched in private hands. Harold Davidson Ventura, California August 2000
Edward Borein (1872-1945)

The Pinto Horse

Edward Borein (1872-1945)
The Pinto Horse
signed 'Edward Borein' (lower right)
watercolor and gouache on board
7½ x 101/8 in. (19.1 x 25.7 cm.)
The Western Horseman, March 1974, illustrated on the cover
Nancy Moure, California Art: 450 Years of Painting and Other Media, Los Angeles, California, 1998, p. 201, illustrated
Phoenix, Arizona, Phoenix Art Museum, Edward Borein: The Katherine H. Haley Collection, April-May 1974, no. 109, p. 13, illustrated
Santa Barbara, California, Sansum Medical Research Foundation, The Collected Works of Edward Borein, December 1978, no. 54
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center, The West of Edward Borein, March-May 1979, no. 19, illustrated
San Buenaventura, California, Ventura County Museum of History and Art, The West Remembered: The Art of Edward Borein, June-September 1988, illustrated
Wickenburg, Arizona, Desert Caballeros Western Museum, The West Remembered: The Art of Edward Borein, February-April 1990
Bend, Oregon, High Desert Museum, June-September 1990
Palm Springs, California, Palm Springs Desert Museum, Edward Borein: Artist of the West from the Katherine H. Haley Collection, February-April 1991