Eiteljorg Quest for the West® Art Show and Sale Returns

Joey Amato | August 26, 2021

Admirers of art inspired by the American West will converge on the Eiteljorg Museum in September for the 16th annual Quest for the West® Art Show and Sale, one of the best opportunities in the nation to purchase Western artworks and interact with the artists. A highlight of this year’s Quest is a special guest, Academy Award-winning actor Wes Studi (Cherokee). The weekend sale Sept. 10-11 will be followed by a month-long public exhibition of Quest art at the museum.

With a national reputation as one of the leading Western art sales, Quest for the West® features works by 51 top artists in the genre, and it brings together artists and the collectors who treasure their paintings and sculptures. Though the 2020 Quest for the West® sale had to be held virtually, this year will mark a return to the Eiteljorg’s familiar in-person sale format for the first time since 2019, when nearly 300 collectors attended the event.

“We are thankful to all those who made last year’s Quest virtual art sale a huge success, and we are elated this year to welcome back artists, art collectors and guests to the Eiteljorg Museum in person to experience Hoosier hospitality, support the Western art field and meet acclaimed actor Wes Studi,” Eiteljorg President and CEO John Vanausdall said. “Importantly, visitors to the Eiteljorg Museum will be able to experience and appreciate the beautiful Quest for the West® artworks during a public exhibition after the sale.”

Here are highlights:

Wes Studi: Known for his resonant voice and intense gaze, Wes Studi (Cherokee) is a versatile actor who has appeared in more than 80 film and television productions, including The Last of the Mohicans, Dances with Wolves, Geronimo: An American Legend, Heat, Avatar, Hostiles and other roles. In 2019, he became the first Native American to receive an honorary Academy Award for acting. In 2020, The New York Times named Studi one of the “25 greatest actors of the 21st century.” During Quest for the West® weekend at the Eiteljorg, fans of Wes Studi’s performances can see him in person at these events:

• Friday Sept. 10, 6:30 p.m.: A program featuring Studi; Quest registration required.

• Saturday, Sept. 11, 12:45 p.m.: The actor will participate in a panel discussion withartists; Quest registration required. 

• Sunday, Sept. 12, 2 p.m.: A Conversation with Wes Studi. The Oscar-winning actor will give a public talk at the museum discussing his illustrious career and passion in bringing authenticity to his work. A question-and-answer session follows. The Sunday event is open to the general public with regular museum admission (and Eiteljorg members get in free), but tickets for the Sept. 12 presentation are limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve tickets, visit this link:

Art and artists. The Quest for the West® Art Show and Sale showcases paintings and sculptures inspired by the people and history of the American West and created by today’s leading artists, including Robert Griffing, P.A. Nisbet, Gladys Roldan-de-Moras, Curt Mattson, Dean Mitchell, Mian Situ and others. View the list of artists and latest gallery of available art at quest.eiteljorg.org. Guests who have pre-registered and paid to participate in opening weekend activities will have the opportunity to meet some Quest artists.

Quest main sale. On Saturday evening, Sept. 11, art collectors who are pre-registered can scout out works by their favorite artists and bid in an on-site, fixed-price, luck-of-the-draw sale. A bidder whose name is drawn first gets the first right to purchase a particular piece. If the bidder passes, the next person drawn is offered the right to buy it. This process continues until a lucky bidder accepts and becomes the happy new owner of the artwork. Collectors not able to attend in person can bid absentee. Any art not sold during opening weekend is available for purchase through Oct. 10.

Miniature art sale. Now in its fifth year, the Quest miniature art sale is a popular complement to the main sale and takes place Friday evening, Sept 10, with the same luck-of-the-draw sale format. Many Quest artists offer smaller examples of their artworks, which are good options for experienced art collectors who are running out of room for large pieces, or for new collectors looking for affordable entry points into collecting.

Artist Awards. During the Saturday evening awards presentation, Quest artists will be recognized in several award categories, including the Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award.

Beautiful exhibitions. After the sale weekend concludes, Quest paintings and sculptures remain on view at the Eiteljorg for one month for museum visitors to enjoy before the works are shipped to buyers. Experience the Quest for the West® exhibition from Sept. 12 to Oct. 10; it is included with regular admission, and members get in free.

During the 16th annual Quest for the West®, the museum also celebrates 15 years of past winners of the annual Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award; and those artworks will be on view in the museum’s Western Art Galleries. These selections reflect the generous support of the Western Art Society, a group of museum supporters and art enthusiasts who have helped the museum acquire important works of Western art.

The Eiteljorg Museum is in full compliance with all state and local public health requirements for indoor gatherings. Guests are strongly encouraged to wear face masks, socially distance and take other precautions. Quest for the West® is presented by the Western Art Society and Avis Foundation Inc. For more information, including opening weekend registration or absentee buyer information, visit: quest.eiteljorg.org. The beautifully illustrated Quest for the West® art catalog will be available in September at the Frank and Katrina Basile Museum Store.