Painter Walt Wooten returns to Cogswell Gallery in Vail Friday |

Painter Walt Wooten returns to Cogswell Gallery in Vail Friday

"Visit to the Louvre XLIX: 'Office to the Imperial Horse Guards Charging'- Theodore Gericault, 1814," by Walt Wooten.
Special to the Daily |

If you go …

What: Walt Wooten Art Show with artist in attendance.

When: 1 to 7 p.m., Friday.

Where: Cogswell Gallery, 223 Gore Creek Drive, Vail Village.

More information: Call 970-476-1769 or visit

VAIL — Legendary painter Walt Wooten is most well known for his “Visit to the Louvre” series of large-scale paintings featuring Native Americans painted in front of the masterpieces of the Louvre. This series of over 50 paintings took 15 years to complete and celebrates George Catlin’s historic trip to Europe with a group of Ojibwa Native Americans in 1845.

Wooten was inspired by how the Ojibwa must have felt when exposed to European art and culture for the first time. He imagined them as modern day tourists requesting to have their photos taken in front of their favorite painting. Wooten explains “great art can actually interact with you, evoke an experience.”

Growing up in Southside Chicago with a mixed heritage of Choctaw, African-American, Irish and French, Wooten was unsure of where he fit in. At the young age of 13, Wooten won first prize in a citywide art competition earning himself art classes at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. After each class, he spent the day wandering through the museum and being inspired by the art. Art helped him discover his true identity. It wasn’t until 20 years in the advertising world that Wooten dedicated himself completely to his true passion: painting.

Wooten’s bold colors draw the viewer in and his subject matter captures their attention. While greatly influenced by Southwest art, Wooten explains that “vivid, contrasting colors and broad brush strokes that impart texture and breath life into the figures distinguish my contemporary approach from the tight, fine lines and earth tones usually associated with Southwest Art.”

The main subject of Wooten’s work is early and contemporary Native Americans juxtaposed against modern society. Southwest Art Magazine suggests, “perhaps placing American Indians in seemingly incongruous contexts comes naturally to an artist who grew up feeling out of place himself.”

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